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April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan £5 where sold

First drive: Mercedes Citan

Heavily reworked, but does Citan offer more than Renault Kangoo? Case study: Clancy Group

How the fleet halved its van accident rate in just four years Industry spotlight: Peugeot

Car/van joint dealer sales policy pays off, says fleet boss

HAVE YOU CHOSEN THE WRONG VAN? Don’t waste money – read our guide to operating the right vehicles


Contact us Fleet News, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Email fleetnews@bauermedia.co.uk Editorial Editor-in-chief Stephen Briers 01733 468024 stephen.briers@bauermedia.co.uk Deputy editor Simon Harris 01733 468308 simon.harris@bauermedia.co.uk Associate editor Trevor Gehlcken Contributors Mark Cartwright, John Charles, Ben Rooth, Chris Lowndes (photographs) Production Head of publishing Luke Neal Production editors Andrew Ryan Alan Salt Designer Charlotte Boon Advertising Commercial director Sarah Crown 01733 468320 B2B commercial manager Sheryl Graham 01733 468256 Account managers Lucy Herbert 01733 468800 Heidi Rogers 01733 468269 Lisa Turner 01733 468345 Marcus Woods 01733 468269 Business development manager Stuart Wakeling 01733 468342 Head of project management Leanne Patterson 01733 468332 Project managers Angela Price 01733 468338 Kerry Unwin 01733 468327 Telesales/recruitment b2brecruitment@bauermedia.co.uk 01733 468275/01733 468328 Events Event director Chris Lester Event manager Sandra Evitt 01733 468123 Event organiser Kate Howard 01733 468146 Events administrator Nicola Baxter 01733 468289 Publishing Managing director Tim Lucas 01733 468340 General manager Ian Richardson 01733 468555 Group marketing manager Bev Mason 01733 468295 Office manager Vicky Meadows 01733 468319 Group managing director Rob Munro-Hall Printing: Headley Brothers Ltd, Kent © 2012 Bauer Consumer Media Ltd ISSN 0953-8526. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. You can purchase words or pictures for your own publications. Phone 01733 465982 or email syndication@bauermedia.co.uk. Fleet News will not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. Editor cannot accept responsibility for statements by advertisers and contributors whose views do not represent those of the publisher. Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation Copyright: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd

CONTENTS 4 I Best practice: Penalty charges Van fleets paid out £3m in parking fines as authorities turn to high-tech detection methods.

6 I News digest

Stories you can’t afford to miss from the last month.

8 I Model update

What’s new, and which vans are getting upgrades?

11 I Risk and safety: Windscreens

Speedy repairs can cut the cost of replacement and vehicle downtime.

16 I Cover feature Choosing the right van

Many fleets are wasting money simply because they are choosing the wrong vehicles.

36 I Spotlight: Peugeot

After its 10% sales growth last year, the vanmaker is now turning its attention to fleets.

38 I Case study: Clancy Docwra Running a safer fleet has helped the Clancy Group reduce costs.

45 I Running a green fleet

Vehicle selection and technology play a key role in environmental policies

48 I Driven

Mercedes-Benz Citan, Transit Custom, Nissan NV400, Mini Clubvan, Renault Trafic long-termer.

54 I Van running costs

Which vehicle delivers the best wholelife costs? LWB small vans come under scrutiny.

NEXT ISSUE – May 2013 CV Show 2013

All the LCV and supplier news from the NEC

Accident management

Making sure downtime is kept to a minimum

Safety technology

How the next-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter will bring car safety features to vans

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 3


B e n c h m a r k i n g b y t h e F TA P e n a l t y c h a r g e s

Van fleets paid out £3m in parking fines in a year Authorities turn to high-tech detection methods as tickets issued rises by 14% By Mark Cartwright, head of LCVs, Freight Transport Association ast month’s article on parking fines got us thinking about how much of an impact the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) system was having on van operations. We surveyed a number of FTA members for their experiences and, while it is clear that the use of PCNs outside London is on the increase, the majority of fines levied remain within the capital. This is a view supported by Rory Morgan, national logistics general manager, Iron Mountain, who said: “95% of our PCNs are in London.” It is clear from the data that within London there are wide variations in the activity of the different authorities, with the top four accounting for 60% of tickets issued (TfL 26%, Westminster 18%, Camden 8% and City of London 8%). There is also a continuing shift toward the use of technology in enforcing PCNs. Data provided by FTA van operators shows that while the number of PCNs received in Q2 2012 (the latest data available) fell slightly compared to Q3 2011, the percentage issued by CCTV increased by 14% from 3,994 to 4,593. This shift has implications for operators as appeals against PCNs issued by CCTV are less than half as likely to be successful as those issued by a civil enforcement officer. How do vans fare compared to trucks and cars within fleets? Not surprisingly given the nature of their operation, vans pick up the lion’s share of PCNs accounting for almost two-thirds of fines. The issue of PCNs is a major one for many van operators looking to service customers in London

L

Technology is making the chances of overturning a fine more difficult

with half of respondents receiving PCNs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’. And it’s a situation which shows no sign of improving, with 59% feeling that the pressure is increasing. The costs associated with PCNs are significant; respondents to our survey paid almost £3m in PCN fines from Q3 2011 to Q2 2012. “Enforcement officers are rarely sympathetic to the needs and restrictions of my van drivers, and

Issued ticket outcome - CCTV v civil enforcement officer CCTV

CEO 10.71%

13.12%

7.73% 16.63% 81.57%

n Paid n Appeal won n Appeal lost

4 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

70.25%

are too eager to give PCNs rather than keep traffic flowing, proving, in my opinion, their only function is to raise revenue,” complained the manager of a large national fleet, who asked not to be named. However, there are a number of best practices that operators can adopt to try and reduce the number of penalties accrued. “We have built a good relationship with the councils,” said Morgan. “We only appeal against those PCNs that we know we can win and also provide the information to support. This, in turn, assists in building that relationship as they know we are not wasting their time. Our specialist has also spent time visiting the councils and talking through procedures. “If you do decide to do this in-house, you must have a robust procedure that provides evidence of delivery/collection. Prompt payment is also a must where you can’t appeal to avoid increased costs. Driver education should also be a requirement to avoid incidents where possible.” Driver education and responsibility do have parts to play in limiting the issue of PCNs. Several respondents commented on the lack of knowledge some of their drivers had in relation to where they could and couldn’t park to make a delivery. “We make sure all our staff are aware of kerb markings and encourage then to be vigilant for street-mounted cameras” said Andrew Ingram, transport manager at T G Lynes. “I have issued all my staff with camera phones and get them to photograph the vehicle, road and


How often do you receive PCNs?

EDITOR’S COLUMN

Often Frequently Occasionally Rarely Very rarely Never 0

5

10

“95% of our PCNs are in London” Rory Morgan, national logistics general manager, Iron Mountain

15

20

25

30

Which type of vehicles within your fleet are most likely to incur PCNs?

markings whenever they get a ticket for parking and get them to make a note of road conditions 14% 21% plus any other factor that would prevent them parking properly. “Also, in London, if the parking attendant is in a vehicle, where they have parked their vehicle in order to issue a ticket. This has been key in overturning a lot of penalties.” Many respondents now challenge a significant 65% number of their PCNs with several reporting they appeal all as a matter of course. Glen Williams, of ALD Logistics, said: “We often pick up PCNs in the course of delivering in London. We now challenge all PCNs received with a 30% success rate. I reckon this has saved n Trucks n Vans n Cars us more than £15,000”. Other operators are looking to pass the charges on to their users and, where they feel there is cards displaying the various markings and other responsibility, their drivers. useful advice. “We inform our customers of the additional Try to develop a relationship with the issuing charges as we pass on these charges,” said bodies. A better understanding of your operation Vincent Brickley, director at Tandem Transport. “It may help. “We explain that we are delivering seems the only way to get things pharmaceuticals and that it would done. Sometimes the customer be unsafe for a driver to park far sees it as a way of convenience away and walk up the road with parking and there’s a cost to go these products,” said Geoff of PCNs issued in with that convenience.” Wright, fleet services manager at London were given out by John Lowden, of NHS Blood & Celesio Group. just four authorities Transplant, said: “We tend to pay Make sure your admin system is the fine immediately to avoid the slick. Assess PCNs quickly and ridiculous escalation charges, but decide whether to appeal or pay have now had to amend our policy quickly before the cost escalates. as more and more drivers wish to There is, of course, an additional challenge the PCN. Very few have of tickets issued in Q3 2011 burden placed on your systems been successful, resulting in but many operators report the were from CCTV higher costs being borne directly cost savings are substantial. by the driver.” There is also an opportunity to outsource this So how can operators best manage the impact process to a third party. FTA’s PCN Admin Service of PCNs on their business? will manage operators’ fines at a cost of £10 per The first rule is to make sure your drivers are PCN regardless of whether the fine is paid, doing all they can to avoid giving the enforcement cancelled or appealed. agencies the opportunity to issue a fine. Make n For a detailed insight into appealing PCNs, sure they know where they can and can’t park; including a downloadable PDF of the appeals ShopFTA produces concise driver information process, visit fleetnews.co.uk/parkingfines

60%

4,593

Stephen Briers, editor-in-chief, Fleet Van n this month’s cover we ask whether you are choosing the wrong vans. Conversations with some of the largest fleets suggest they are increasingly analysing vehicle usage, taking into consideration load requirements, routes, journey type and duplication to put a more coherent policy in place.

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“Ultimately, choosing the right vans means saving money” This might see them downsize vans which regularly run with spare capacity, or upsize to remove two smaller vehicles from the road. It might see them buy more crew-cab vans to transport staff to the same location, again removing surplus vehicles from the road. Equally, this approach may result in investment in stopstart technology if vans are urban based. Ultimately, choosing the right vans means saving money through buying fewer vehicles or less fuel. Are manufacturers following this trend or leading it? Probably both. Certainly Ford and Mercedes-Benz have identified the need for a wider range of vans and both are featured in this issue. If you’ve not started to scrutinise your own van fleet yet, now is a perfect time to start crunching some figures.

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 5


The month in news w w w.fleetnews.co.uk /vans/

News digest NISSAN SURVEY REVEALS LCV FLEET CHALLENGES Managing rising fuel prices, vehicle purchase and running costs, and protecting vans from future regulation are all key priorities for the modern day van operators, according to the 2013 Nissan Van Report. Surveying 252 fleet managers operating vans, the report aims to understand more of the challenges faced by running them. One such challenge is fuel prices. Since 2001 diesel prices have doubled to an average of 139.8p per litre and not surprisingly 75% of fleet managers were taking measures to control or reduce fuel use, although a quarter of them are still doing nothing. A half (51%) of respondents said driver training is the most popular measure to reduce fuel use, along with technological interventions such as speed limiters (37%) and telematics (35%). Costs are clearly a big driver for respondents adding vans to their fleet, with wholelife costs (25%) and front-end prices (18%) major considerations. Reliability was only listed by 7% of fleet managers. The main appeal of running vans at below 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the lack of operating restrictions. Just 27% said they were in favour reflecting an increased focus on duty of care by companies, while 67% of respondents weren’t in favour of further legislative measures being introduced. Of this 27%, telematics devices (48%) were the most popular choices, while 42% supported adoption of an official driving test to allow drivers to drive a van. Top of the list for features to add to a van was satellite navigation (40%) followed by vehicle tracking (13%) and Bluetooth (11%). Nearly 40% of fleet managers said their drivers travel 100 miles or less per day, giving Nissan hope that it’s new eNV200 electric van could be a viable option. Just one in five (22%) cover more than 200 miles each day.

NEW HOME DELIVERY VEHICLE L AUNCHED Gray & Adams is launching a vehicle aimed at the home delivery sector. The company puts the current size of the UK home delivery fleet at around 7,500 vehicles. Based on an average five-year replacement cycle, this implies potential demand for some 1,500 new vehicles each year. Steve Rose, managing director at Gray & Adams’ Doncaster factory, said: “The home delivery sector has been dominated by a single vehicle supplier. Given continued growth in this segment, the market badly needs another volume-based manufacturer to guarantee future supply and ensure price competitiveness. That’s where we come in.” Based on a 3.5-tonne Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the vehicle is fitted with a dual-temperature GAH refrigeration unit and capable of carrying 105 totes (crates). Gray & Adams freed up the space for an extra tote by ‘designing out’ the wheelbox intrusion. Other innovative features include wide radius cappings to smooth the airflow and high-gloss Kemlite floor skins, which are used externally as well as internally, to help prevent dirt and debris accumulating beneath the vehicle and thus reducing payload capacity. Plastic, high impact-resistant rear light plates, proximity sensors and reversing cameras should reduce the risk of damage.

“Until now the home delivery sector has been dominated by a single vehicle supplier” Steve Rose, managing director, Gray & Adams’ Doncaster factory 6 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

PRICE AND SPEC REVEALED F O R P R O A C E VA N UK customers will have 10 versions of Toyota’s new Proace van to choose from when the new model goes on sale in July, giving choices for load capacity, payload and performance. The choice of nine panel vans takes in two vehicle lengths and heights, payloads of one or 1.2 tonnes, and three diesel engines. In addition there is a Proace crew cab van, seating up to six. The Proace Crew Cab is available in a single configuration (L2H1, powered by the 126bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. The combinations of size, payload and powertrain for the panel van are detailed below. The standard wheelbase (L1) models measure 4,805mm overall, with a 3,000mm wheelbase; the longer versions are 5,135mm long with a 3,122mm wheelbase. The standard height (H1) is 1,942mm, with a higher roof (2,276mm) available with the L2 wheelbase. In L1H1 specification, total load space is 5cu m; in the L2H1 vans this increased to 6cu m, with the L2H2 offering 7cu m. The Proace offers a choice of three diesel engines. The 89bhp 1.6-litre engine produces 133lb-ft of torque and is matched to a fivespeed manual transmission. Two 2.0-litre diesel units are available, with outputs of 126 and 161bhp and peak torque figures of 236lb-ft and 251lb-ft respectively. Both come with a six-speed manual transmission. An 80-litre fuel tank capacity and combined cycle fuel consumption figures of 44.1mpg give the 2.0-litre versions of the Proace a theoretical driving range of more than 770 miles before refuelling. The Proace comes in single equipment grade providing sliding doors on each side, 16-inch alloy wheels with wheel caps, fog lamps, daytime running lights and heated electric door mirrors. Customers can specify plain or glazed double steel rear doors. Where fitted, the rear windows are heated and have a wash-wipe system. Features include air conditioning, Bluetooth, electric windows, and the choice of a single front passenger seat or two-person bench. Where safety is concerned, all Proace come with driver and front passenger airbags, ABS and Vehicle Stability Control. Further choices can be made when it comes to the bulkhead between cabin and loadspace. A ladder-type bulkhead is fitted as standard, with a steel ladder bulkhead featured in the crew van. A steel bulkhead can be specified as an option on the panel van. The Proace is derived from the Citroën Dispatch, Peugeot Expert and Fiat Scudo van project, led by PSA Peugeot-Citroën. Toyota has confirmed it will be a partner in the next-generation version. Grade L1H1 1,000kg L1H1 1,200kg L1H1 1,200kg L1H1 1,200kg L2H1 1,200kg L2H1 1,200kg L2H1 1,200kg L2H2 1,200kg L2H2 1,200kg L2H1 1,200kg

Body Engine CO2 Panel Van 2.0D 126bhp 168 Panel Van 1.6D 89bhp 177 Panel Van 2.0D 126bhp 168 Panel Van 2.0D 161bhp 168 Panel Van 1.6D 89bhp 177 Panel Van 2.0D 126bhp 168 Panel Van 2.0D 161bhp 168 Panel Van 2.0D 126bhp 186 Panel Van 2.0D 161bhp 186 Crew Cab 2.0D 126bhp 183

Basic Price £18,499.83 £17,749.83 £18,916.49 £19,499.83 £18,333.16 £19,499.83 £20,083.16 £20,666.49 £21,249.83 £22,416.49

CV OTR £19,379.17 £18,629.17 £19,795.83 £20,379.17 £19,212.50 £20,379.17 £20,962.50 £21,545.83 £22,129.17 £23,295.83


R E N A U LT C O U L D U -T U R N O N L E A S E D B A T T E R Y P O L I C Y Renault boss Carlos Tavares has revealed he is prepared to drop a controversial plan to lease batteries for the electric vehicles his company aims to market in Britain. In an interview with Fleet Van, the French group’s chief operating officer pledged he would authorise a move to include battery packs in vehicle purchase pricing if customers prefer it. “The whole point of our idea to offer batteries on lease has been to provide our customers with peace of mind and this has been backed up by all the results from our focus group sessions. These are expensive items and we shoulder the cost if they should fail during the lease period. “But if the feedback we get from our sales network shows that customers prefer to buy the batteries along with the cars, we will change our minds. We’ll wait and see how customers respond.

C E N T E R PA R C S TA K E S D E L I V E R Y O F N E W E L E C T R I C VA N S Center Parcs has taken delivery of 22 new electric Renault Kangoo Maxi Van Z.E. models. The vans were handed over recently at Sherwood Forest and will be used across Center Parcs’ other UK villages including Elveden Forest, Longleat Forest and Whinfell Forest and its forthcoming fifth village, Woburn Forest, due to open Spring 2014. The new electric vehicles form part of a fleet of 150 vehicles and will be used by the technical services and maintenance division and the “Dining-In” takeaway delivery operation which transports food and beverages to guests. The Kangoo Van Z.E.s were chosen after a rigorous selection process with Center Parcs keen to ensure its vehicle fleet is as green as possible, in keeping with its overall sustainability ethos. The Kangoo vans beat competition based on a range of factors, including running costs, reliability, practicality, payload and purchase price. Center Parcs operations and development director Paul Kent said: “It is important for us to ensure that Center Parcs’ commercial vehicle fleet is the most efficient and least polluting option possible. The new Kangoo Van Z.E.s take this ethos to the next level, bringing non-polluting electric vehicles to each Center Parcs village. We’re delighted to be continuing our commitment to ensure Center Parcs reduces its impact on the environment.” Andy Heiron, head of electric vehicle programme at Renault UK, handed over the keys to the vans at Center Parcs,. He said: “It is wonderful to see the vans in use at such a fantastic location as Center Parcs. As well as being one of the best known names in the leisure and tourism industry, Center Parcs also leads the way in ensuring that its day-to-day operations are environmentally friendly, making the Kangoo Van Z.E. a great choice for its fleet needs. “The Kangoo Van Z.E. and our electric range as a whole offer a winning combination of practicality and reliability, plus they are respectful of the environment with no tailpipe emissions at all.  We are delighted that Center Parcs has chosen our Z.E. range for its fleet requirements and know that its staff will appreciate the vans’ comfort and ergonomics.”

“When you are in a pioneering position, you have to accept that there are risks to be taken as well as opportunities. We’re not being stubborn over this. The leasing idea was part of our aim retain a competitive edge, but we will listen to what our customers tell us.” The possibility of a U-turn on battery lease was welcomed by Martin Ward, manufacturer relations manager at CAP Monitor, who have refused to make retained value predictions on Renault EV products for the last three years. “We exist to protect the interests of a lot of business customers who pay us for advice and we have always believed that the battery leasing idea involves legal and insurance implications. Everyone knows where they stand when an internal combustion-powered car is leased, but that’s just not the case when a vehicle involves a second lease.”

RELIABILIT Y IS NUMBER ONE FA C T O R F O R N E W VA N B U Y E R S Reliability is the number one issue for buyers when making their next new van purchase, according to the first edition of Company Van Trends quarterly research carried out for GE Capital’s Fleet Services division. Some 250 fleets running light commercial vehicles were asked to rate eight key factors in response to the question; when making your next LCV purchase, what are the key considerations? Simon Cook, LCV commercial Simon Cook leader for GE Capital UK, said: “The research reveals that operational concerns are front of mind for van fleet managers. “They want vehicles that can carry good loads, are going to start every morning, not need constant refuelling and which can be easily and cheaply repaired. “It is very much a picture of practicality. Van fleets are expected to deliver and van fleet managers are focused entirely on doing so.” Cook pointed out that it was interesting to see that residual values, which remain a key concern for company car fleets, were ranked at a relatively low position. He said: “This is a reflection of the differing life cycles of company cars and vans. Other parts of our research indicates the way in which van fleets appear to be holding on to vehicles for longer. While four year cycles are still the most popular option, five, six, seven and even eight year fleet lives are now common and 11% of fleets even hold onto their vans right to the end of their useful life. “In this longer term scenario, residual values stop becoming a major consideration because of the relatively low actual market values when the vehicles come to be sold. Day-to-day running costs, especially the repairs that keep older vans running, are much more important.” The full research findings into the company van sector will be launched as a guide by GE Capital’s Fleet Services division at the Commercial Vehicle Show 2013 at the NEC between April 9-11. Ranking Reliability Fuel consumption Payload capacity Making a like for like replacement Cost of damaged and replacement part The power unit Residual values Availability of bespoke/extra equipment

Average Score where 1 is highest 2.4 2.7 2.9 4.8 5.3 6.0 6.3 6.3

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 7


Model update

Latest models to look out for A round-up of what’s being launched and which models are getting an upgrade The Scudo Crew Van is one of three new models being launched by Fiat

Fiat launches tipper and two crew vans Fiat is launching three new LCV models – a Fiorino Crew Van, Scudo Crew Van and Ducato Tipper. The Fiorino Crew Van is powered by a 1.3 MultiJet II 75bhp engine. Featuring panelled sliding side doors on both sides and twin-panelled rear doors, the interior will have a rear passenger seat which can either be folded or removed completely. The Scudo Crew Van is powered by Fiat’s 2.0 MultiJet 130bhp engine and is available on both short and long wheelbase bodies.

New Outlander has CV version Mitsubishi has launched the latest generation Outlander – and as with older models a commercial vehicle version will be available with the rear seats removed. The Outlander features a new 2.2-litre diesel engine offering 148bhp and 236lb-ft of torque, while returning 52.3mpg on the combined cycle. Auto stop-start is standard on six-speed manual versions along with an eco mode which reduces the amount of torque available. The interior has had a complete makeover with an all-new dashboard, instrument and switchgear layout. n Prices start at £20,812 ex-VAT.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial

8 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

It has been developed with Snoeks Automotive and will offer six seats and a semi-glazed configuration with the specific components being supplied by Snoeks and assembled directly on the assembly line. The conversion also has an extension of the load space under the rear seat. The new Ducato Tipper is based on an MWB chassis and has been developed with VFS (Southampton), a commercial vehicle converter specialising in high-quality Tipper and Dropside conversions.

Electric power for VW concept Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed a new electric Transporter concept vehicle, the e-Co-Motion. The concept vehicle offers a maximum cargo capacity of 4.6 cubic metres and 800kg of payload. This is enabled by partitioning of the vehicle body into a lower driving-relevant zone containing an underfloor drive unit, battery and gearbox and an upper superstructure for delivery tasks.

Electric-powered Transporter concept

Special editions of Great Wall 4x4 Great Wall has introduced two special edition models of the Steed 4x4 – Chrome and Tracker. Building on the array of standard equipment found on the entry-level Steed S, both models offer savings of at least £800 over the accessories bought individually. The Steed has recently been uprated with towing capacity of 2,500kg (braked) and a 1,050kg maximum payload. The Steed Chrome adds chrome side bars

and sports bars, chrome foglamp surrounds, chrome rear-lamp finishers, stainless steel door entry guards, an over-rail bedliner, tinted windows, metallic paint and carpet floor mats. The Steed Tracker adds special fit General Grabber all-terrain tyres, an over-rail bedliner, a towbar with audible monitor, front and rear mudflaps, rubber mats and metallic paint. n Prices start at £14,998 ex-VAT.

The new Great Wall Steed Chrome


Risk and safety Windscreens

SPEEDY ACTION CAN SAVE MONEY Windscreen repairs can cut the cost of replacement and vehicle downtime

I

By Ben Rooth mplementing a clearly-defined windscreen and glass policy has never been more important – and it could save money. Long gone are the days when windscreens were simply to keep out wind and rain. Windscreens are now equally likely to be linked to sensors connected to airbags or enjoy a dual use as that vehicle’s radio antenna – among myriad other high-tech applications. Then there’s the increasingly important role that windscreens play in ensuring a vehicle’s overall structural strength.

As a result of these technological developments, the cost of windscreens has risen sharply over the past decade. From a business perspective, the implementation of a clearly-defined windscreen and glass policy makes sense to mitigate these potential costs. Gary Dean, UK technical support manager at Northgate Van Hire, which operates 52,000 vans nationwide, says: ”A windscreen plays a critical role in driver and vehicle safety. “It can account for up to 36% of a vehicle’s structural strength but, equally important in

Technicians replacing windscreens need to remove and reconnect various sensors, including airbags

an emergency, it also enables airbags to operate safely in the event of a collision. “The introduction of rain sensors, light reflective screens, heated screens and GPS technology into the windscreens of modern vehicles has led to replacement costs increasing by as much as 50% based on previous models of the same vehicle. “Consequently, drivers must immediately report and take appropriate advice on any 'screen identified with stone chips or cracks.” Industry professionals agree that duty-of -care obligations are also inextricably linked to windscreen and glass policies. With legislation like the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act now in existence, the onus is on all fleet managers to show drivers’ safety is of paramount importance within their organisation. Nigel Davies, managing director of Auto Windscreens, says: “Every fleet manager has a duty of care to his or her van drivers and should certainly look to establish a windscreen policy if one does not already exist. “We advise customers to conduct regular inspections, at least every month, to keep vans safe from chips, scratches and cracks. “Early identification of a chip means it can be repaired before it forms a crack and results in the need for a replacement. “Depending on a van’s make and model, the difference between a repair and replacement windscreen can be as much as £200 – so it pays to catch and organise the repair of any damage quickly.” The time it takes to fix a chip or scratch is far less than to fit a

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 11


Risk and safety Windscreens

new screen – thus saving further costs by reducing vehicle downtime. What a windscreen policy should highlight Maintenance providers must have clear guidelines to refer to when chips or cracks are discovered when the vehicle is being serviced. Damage of up to 40mm across can sometimes be repaired, depending on where in the screen it is situated. If the damage is directly in front of the driver – in the area known as the A zone – then only damage up to 10mm in size can be repaired. If ignored, small chips can develop and eventually they cannot be repaired. Secondary cracks can form due to vibration, heat, moisture, frost and dirt. Dirt or moisture entering the damaged area will make it more difficult – and sometimes impossible – to produce an acceptable repair. When a windscreen has to be replaced automotive glazing technicians must remove and reconnect various sensors – including airbag sensors and wiring. Furthermore, only companies with correctly trained and qualified personnel should be used to replace or repair any windscreen. National Windscreens fleet sales manager Graham Furneaux-Porter says: “It makes commercial sense for fleet operators to implement workable policies around all aspects of vehicle maintenance and repair. “Taking immediate action can make a significant impact on a fleet company’s bottom line as repairing windscreens is far more cost effective than replacing them. “We advise our fleet customers to think about establishing a ‘repair first’ policy to ensure vehicles remain roadworthy at all times.” Jeremy Rochfort, national sales manager at Autoglass, adds that his company recommends regular fleet checks which can be undertaken either in-house or by external contractors. He explains: “Depending on the size of a fleet, we can provide a fleet repair clinic every three to six months when one of our expert technicians will audit the office or facility car park to

Quick repairs can save the cost of replacement and reduce the time a vehicle is off the road

“With deteriorating road conditions, chipped windscreens are becoming increasingly common” Jeremy Rochfort, Autoglass identify any repairable damage and fix it the same day. “With the deteriorating road conditions, chipped windscreens are becoming increasingly common and simple triggers such as extreme temperatures – cold outside and heating inside – are also likely to cause the chips to crack. “This is why it is essential to raise awareness among drivers of the importance of responding quickly to damage, so preventative repairs can be carried out and this will bring with them significant savings.” Increased awarenessDavies adds that most of Auto Windscreens's corporate clients are aware of the importance of implementing a windscreen policy – and are now actively

seeking to avoid expensive windscreen replacements. “The fleet companies we work with know the risk of failure in this area can be significant,” explained Davies. “Windscreens not only form a part of the vehicle’s structure but must also be maintained to enable safe driving conditions. “Companies that ignore their obligations and neglect to conduct proper vehicle glass assessments put motorists in danger and will be subject to a higher number of windscreen replacements. “It is also an offence to drive vehicles where windscreens, windscreen wipers and washer bottles are not in good working order and it is paramount that legal duties are fulfilled across all fleets.”

Case study: Venson Automotive Leasing company Venson Automotive Solutions saved more than £18,000 last year as a direct result of its windscreen policy with National Windscreens. Venson has been committed to the company’s “repair first” policy across all the vehicles it manages for five years. The ratio of repairs to replacements in the past 12 months was more than 30% on its 7,000 light commercial vehicles, – well above the industry average. Lee O’Neill, accident and maintenance manager at Venson, said: “It is because

12 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

we educate our client management teams, fleet managers and ultimately the drivers to spot stone chip damage early and book the repair that we have had such great results. “With any spell of freezing weather, minor damage can spread and the cost of replacement can be around four times that of a repair." National Windscreens has contracts in place with some of Britain’s largest van fleet operators, including TNT, UPS, DPD, Yodel and Royal Mail.


BUTCHER? BAKER? CANDLESTICK MAKER?

it’s official. tHE NEW MiNi clUBVaN is tHE BEst tHiNg siNcE slicEd BrEad. We’re pleased to announce that the MINI Clubvan has driven off with the WhatVan? Editor’s Choice Award. Recognised for combining stylish good looks and practicality, the MINI Clubvan was praised for bringing something unique to the small van market. So, whatever your business, make it your business to discover the award-winning MINI Clubvan for yourself.

find out more at www.mini.co.uk/clubvan

Official fuel economy figures for the new MINI Clubvan Range: Urban 32.1-64.2 mpg (8.8-4.4 l/100km). Extra Urban 54.3-78.5 mpg (5.2-3.6 l/100km). Combined 43.5-72.4 mpg (6.5-3.9 l/100km). CO2 emissions 152-103 g/km.


MINIMALISM


Fleet operations Van purchasing decisions

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VANS FOR THE JOB Many fleets waste money because they operate the wrong vehicles

I

By Trevor Gehlcken f we told you there’s a good chance that you are running the wrong type of vehicles on your van fleet, you’d probably heartily disagree. But experts reckon that 40% of fleets are wasting cash by operating the wrong vehicles, so it’s worth taking time to examine the possibility that you feature among that number. The problem is that many fleet operators buy the same vehicles year after year without really stopping to examine whether they could make do with something a little smaller. If you only need a larger vehicle a couple of times a year then it will be worth renting on those occasions. Some manufacturers now have van business centre networks that are staffed by professionals who will do much more than sell you a van and it is worth taking up their advice next time you change vehicles. Scott Michael, head of commercial vehicles and business centre programme at Citroën, explains how fleets can benefit from expert help when it comes to selecting new LCVs. He says: “A customer need not necessarily buy a larger van to carry the driver and two passengers as a Berlingo can now do this. “Or, if long lengths have to be carried, the customer could also consider smaller Citroën vans, such as suitably specified Berlingo and Dispatch models, which can carry up to 3.25m lengths.” While downsizing vans is an important consideration in today’s tough financial climate, it is not the answer in every situation.

16 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

Michael says: “We have seen many cases where businesses have outgrown their existing fleet in terms of vehicle size and either more goods have to be transported or the company’s service engineers have to carry more tools and parts. This raises issues with the customers’ existing vans being overloaded. Then the answer can only be a van of not just greater capacity, but with a payload to match. “Specifying the right van for the job can save money, improve efficiency and raise safety standards. “To provide customers with the necessary advice on picking the optimum van for their business and equally importantly the most cost-effective and tax-efficient method of acquisition, the Citroën Business Centre network has this expertise.” Fuel is the major saving from downsizing. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that switching from a Ford Transit to a Transit Connect will save more than £2,300 over 60,000 miles. The list price of the smaller van is £2,000 less too, showing the cumulative effect of a more cost-effective fleet. Based on a fleet of 50 vehicles, the bottom line saving could be as much as £125,000 over three years. Experts also reckon that drivers, too, should be involved in the buying process, as a driver who takes a dislike to a vehicle is more likely to take less care over its appearance. Alex Wright, managing director at Shoreham Vehicle Auctions, says: “One general mistake operators make before buying a new vehicle or adopting new technology is not involving the drivers in the purchasing process.

“Specifying the right van for the job can save money, improve efficiency and raise safety standards” Scott Michael Citroën

£2,300

Fuel savings over 60,000 miles from switching from a Ford Transit to a Transit Connect

40%

No of fleets reckoned to be wasting cash through using the wrong vehicles


“I would always suggest an extended loan before making a purchasing decision and get real drivers behind the wheel so you can get a complete feel for vehicle usability. And if the drivers like the vehicles and have given their feedback, when it is fully adopted on fleet they are likely to look after it which, in turn, reduces operating costs.” Many van fleet operators gravitate to the lowest-powered base vehicles. After all, 100bhp is adequate for most fleet needs and more power usually means worse fuel economy as drivers make the most of their vehicles when out on the road. But cheapest is not always best. George Alexander, editor, Glass’s Guide to Used Commercial Vehicles, says: “The trouble is that inexperienced fleet managers only apply effort to minimising the initial cost of the vehicle as that is something they feel in control. “Too often, they strip LCVs of everything that will add to their value at selling time and risk turning them into a liability. Here, as in most things, if you don’t plan for success, you’re planning for failure.” As for buying the lowestpowered vans, Alexander says: “Vans that will give you truly impressive returns will have the specification your drivers crave: 130bhp will not only bring a smile to his face, you could even see an improvement in the mpg returned on the same route. “Add air-con, metallic paint, sat-nav and a smartly kitted-out cab and it will not only make

your driver that much keener to come to work, it will almost certainly make him more productive.” Choosing the right spec Having decided on which size van to buy, it is now a question of deciding what to put in it. If electronic stability control (ESC) is offered as an option, the safety benefit might outweigh any front-end cost. This device helps prevent sideways skids and has been described as the most important safety device since the invention of the seatbelt. By law, all vans will have to be fitted with ESC as standard by October 2014 but in the meantime it remains on the options list among some manufacturers. Roadsafe director Adrian Walsh says: “Businesses are losing £2.7 billion each year through accidents so there are huge benefits in managing this risk. “Most van fleet operators don’t believe safety is a problem and we have to get this message across that it is. One way of stopping accidents is by fitting ESC and this should be fitted as standard on all vans. It saves lives and costs for the business.” Walsh pointed out that it was not just death and injury that would be reduced if all vans had ESC. Most crashes simply involve damage to vehicles and if this could be limited, once again money could be saved. The other two essential van extras are proximity sensors for reversing and ply-lining. The benefits of parking aids could seem obvious when you

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 17


Fleet operations Van purchasing decisions

look at the number of vans on the UK’s roads which have various dents and dings in them at the front and rear. Sensors cost around £200 per vehicle but will pay for themselves the first time a driver avoids knocking into something – especially if that something happens to be a human being who may sue your firm for damages. Ply-lining, too, costs around £200 but will pay for itself over and over again at selling time when you strip it out to reveal a pristine cargo area. Duncan Ward, UK business development manager – commercial vehicles, at auction specialist BCA, says: “Used buyers now expect to see ply-lining and it protects vehicles from ‘inside-out’ damage.” All sizes of vans benefit from this ‘extra’, from LWB high-roof examples to small hatchbacks. In terms of added value, ply-lining might add only £100 or so, but the real benefit is that the

Ply-lining is cheap and will help protect the cargo area of your vans

van is much more likely to be in a more saleable condition after three or four years’ hard work. An otherwise clean van valued at £5,000 could lose up to £1,500 if its side panels are extensively blemished from inside-out damage. BCA also suggests that side-loading doors are as essential for the smaller car-sized vans (Combo, Berlingo, for example) as they are for the 3.5-tonne van sector. Other paid-for extras depend on how much your firm is prepared to speculate to accumulate. Some vans – the Fiat Doblo Cargo for example – have stop-start systems as standard

and these can save up to 16% in fuel for urban fleets so could be worth investing in. Air-conditioning would probably not be top of the fleet operator’s list of must-haves but it will keep drivers cooler in summer and will add to the van’s value at selling time. BCA estimates a van with air-con (typically a £600 option) will not only fetch around £200 more than one without but it will also receive many more bids than a standard vehicle, improving the odds of a first-time sell. Ward says: “If you are a professional buyer for retail, you know that certain vehicles will stand out in adverts and on the forecourt and you want those on your shopping list. “In a similar fashion, end users buying at auction will seek out the best vehicles they can buy with the budget they’ve got – and if a van with air-con is on offer, that will be the one they bid for if all the other vans available are basic models.”

“The real value of ply-lining is that the van is much more likely to be in a saleable condition” Duncan Ward, BCA

ESC will help avoid sideways skids – but many vans still have the system as a paid-for option

18 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan


Advertisement feature

New record values set in March Limited supply and good levels of demand keep the halls busy

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CA’s latest Pulse data shows that average LCV values continued to rise – the March average figure of £4,860 for all LCVs was the highest on record for any month since Pulse began reporting in 2005. Year-on-year, March 2013 was ahead by £633 or 14.9%, with age and mileage rising over the period. New record average monthly values were established for fleet & lease and dealer part-exchange vans. BCA’s Duncan Ward commented: “Values remained strong in the run-up to Easter, as the combination of limited supply and good levels of demand in the remarketing sector saw prices rise for corporate stock and older dealer part-exchange vans. LCV values have been universally strong throughout the first quarter of this year and are significantly higher than the same period last year. “In fact the market has been even more competitive over the past few weeks and well-presented LCVs are routinely outperforming guide expectations – often by a considerable amount. “The auction halls have been very busy across the BCA network, while the number of buyers participating via BCA Live Online continues to rise.” Ward added: “We know from experience that in the majority of previous years’ values have typically softened over the late spring and summer months. “However, we saw little sign of that in 2012 as values remained relatively steady until the autumn when they rose quite sharply. So, second-guessing what trends might emerge this year is less straightforward.

Well-presented LCVs are routinely outperforming guide expectations

Mar 2012 Mar 2013

Avg Age 44.89 43.99

Avg Mileage 70,549 69,646

“Anecdotal evidence from a number of sources suggests retail used van activity remains slow, yet the wholesale remarketing sector is relatively strong. BCA believes the continued shortage of stock is helping to drive demand and keep prices firm. “While the wider economic picture remains downbeat, a recent report for Nectar Business Small Business Awards suggested up to a third of working Britons would be interested in starting up their own business. “Assuming that even a small percentage achieve that goal, that is a considerable

 

Source: BCA

LCVs – fleet & lease used values 2011-2013 £6,000

£5,000

£4,000

Mar

Jan

Feb

Dec

Oct

Nov

Sep

Aug

Jun

July

Apl

May

Mar

Jan

Feb

Dec

Nov

Sep

Ocvt

Jul

Aug

Juyn

Apl

May

Feb

Mar

£3,000

£2,000

Source: BCA

Year-on-year table: Fleet & lease vans

Sale vs CAP 98.96% 102.74%

groundswell of self-employed trades people and start-up businesses that may be in the market for a good-value light commercial vehicle. “Interestingly, the biggest value growth appears to be in the lower value, budget van sector. Part-exchange vans sold at auction in March averaged £3,279 – a rise of £184 (5.9%) in a month and the highest value on record.” Year-on-year, part-exchange values are up by 21%, while CAP performance at 105.26% is around three points higher than the fleet & lease sector. Values in the fleet & lease LCV sector improved again in March, rising by £84 (1.4%) to £5,907 – the fourth consecutive month where a record average value has been achieved for corporate CV stock. Performance against CAP fell back by half a point to 102.7%, while retained value against Manufacturer Recommended Price improved to 35.43% from 34.9% in February. Year-on-year, the value evolution for corporate stock remains significant – March 2013 was £926 (18.5%) ahead of the same month in 2012 – with average age and mileage down slightly.

Europe’s No.1 vehicle remarketing company log on to www.british-car-auctions.co.uk or call 0844 875 3480

Avg Value £4,981 £5,907


Remarketing Residual values

Uncertainty over future direction of van values Experts fail to agree whether unprecedented residual values will continue

F

By John Charles leet operators are enjoying unprecedented van residual value windfalls as the fall out from the recession provides at least one bright financial highlight. However, the million pound question is will the prices being achieved on defleet continue to accelerate, or should fleet chiefs take a more cautious view as to sale price expectations? Duncan Ward, BCA’s general manager – commercial vehicles, said: “We know from experience that values cannot keep rising and in previous years values have typically softened over the late spring and summer months.” However, he added: “We saw little sign of that in 2012 as values remained relatively steady until the autumn when they rose quite sharply.” Consequently, the market is in uncharted waters four years on from the 2008/9 new LCV registration recession-inspired crash and how that manifests itself is impossible to judge at this stage, said Ward. Although sales of new vans are rising in 2013, many small businesses continue to struggle to obtain finance, or cannot necessarily justify purchasing a new

Manheim saw year-onyear average prices rise in three of the four key market sectors in March

there is a real appetite from the commensurate with vehicle condismaller/medium business and selftion, to fiercely competitive, where employed sectors.” many vehicles are However, Ken Brown, selling well above CAP editor of CAP Red Book clean and, in many LCVs and Motorhomes, cases, regardless of said that given the Average price of car- their true condition,” derived van at continuing depressed said Brown. Manheim state of the economy and Supply of used vehidealers continuing to cles remains tight and report that ‘times are with a reduced number hard’, it was not entirely of auction entries in clear what was driving February and March, the market. Average age (months) evidence suggests it is “The market has gone of ex-fleet and lease getting tighter. from what we might “There is only a van at BVA describe as cautious, supply crisis if demand where bids were more or less in outstrips supply,” said Brown. “With line with the guide prices and dealers clearly buying for stock it Ken Brown, editor of CAP Red Book LCVs and Motorhomes remains to be seen how quickly that stock sells. If that stock takes longer to sell we could well see a temporary fall in demand again before AVERAGE VAN PRICES, MILEAGE AND AGE MARCH 2013 V MARCH 2012 supply shortages eventually prompt LCV sector Average price Average mileage Average age further price increases.” (2012) (2012) in months (2012) The relationship between supply Car-derived vans 2013 £3,442 (£2,770) 69,573 (72,397) 57 (60) and demand is such that even Small panel vans 2013 £4,140 (£4,072) 94,228 (85,717) 65 (62) though the average age and mileage Large panel vans sub-3.0 tonnes 2013 £4,511 (£4,024) 76,017 (86,789) 59 (57) of vehicles entering the used market Large panel vans over 3.0 tonnes 2013 £4,266 (£4,493) 104,702 (99,336) 57 (57) has generally been rising in recent Source: Manheim years as many fleets have extended model, hence the buoyancy of the used sector, according to John Davies, chairman of the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA). As a result, he said: “The VRA predicts that this situation will continue in 2013. “All ages and conditions of commercial vehicles are in demand, with and without damage, showing

“The market has gone from what we might describe as cautious to fiercely competitive”

£3,442 43.99

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 23


Remarketing Residual values

UNDER THE HAMMER Tim Cattlin, CAP Monitor editor, commercial vehicles My role at CAP involves regular meetings with major manufacturers who will often challenge our forecast relative to their immediate competitors. It’s important to them because higher forecast RVs mean higher unit sales. There is also the prospect of less financial support being required to secure business. Among the challenges we receive are: ■ “Why are our RVs lower than theirs?” ■ “It’s the same van but with different badges – how can you justify a lower forecast?” ■ “We’ve suffered from low RVs for years. What can we do to change this?” ■ “You’re perpetuating outdated perceptions. We’ve turned a corner and have huge plans for the future” ■ “We’re number one in ‘x’ country – why is that not the case here?”

“The ultimate responsibility for residual values lies with the buyer, not CAP” The genuine frustration shown by those who feel they are being wronged or treated unjustly is sometimes almost palpable and usually understandable. But who is really responsible for residual values? We ask people to picture two vans coming through the auction hall. Apart from different manufacturer’s badges, they are identical in age, condition, mileage, colour and specification. The trader is working out how quickly he can turn it round into profit – he has no brand allegiance. The trader’s customer has no real interest in vans. But he does remember the ‘Brand X’ vehicle his mate had which broke down on a regular basis before finally corroding into oblivion. And an episode of Top Gear where a car made by the same manufacturer was ridiculed. The trader takes the easy option and bids more strongly for the brand with the better image. He may consider the other van, but only at a price where he feels he will be able to offer a significant price advantage to the customer who will find the cost benefit difficult to ignore. Is it therefore our job to reflect these kinds of market perception or should we give the manufacturer a helping hand by immediately translating product improvements into higher future value predictions? The bottom line is ultimate responsibility for residual values lies with the buyer, not the producer and certainly not CAP. ■ To read this article in full go to: www.cap.co.uk/blog

Values for ex-fleet and lease vans reached a new record at BCA

replacement cycles, prices achieved have been largely insulated against the trend. CAP anticipates the upwards age/ mileage trend to be a characteristic of the market for some time to come and Brown said: “How this affects prices over the longer term will largely depend on overall supply.” Often, the Easter break represents a watershed in demand, but experts say there is no evidence of 2013 following that trend with the two major auction companies – BCA and Manheim – continuing to see hammer prices rise. At BCA, average values for ex-fleet and lease vans reached a new record level at £5,907 (March 2012: £4,981) – 102.74% of CAP clean, although unusually average age and mileage fell fractionally year-onyear to 43.99 months and 69,646 respectively. Ward said: “Values remained strong, as the combination of limited supply and good levels of demand in the remarketing sector saw prices rise for corporate stock.” Manheim reported a rare dip in the average selling price of used commercial vehicles in February, but believes that was a blip due to a volume rise caused by defleeted daily rental vans. In March, Manheim saw year-onyear average hammer price rises in three of the four key LCV market sectors – car-derived vans, small panel vans and large panel vans under three tonnes (see panel, page 23). However, values for large panel

vans over three tonnes fell year-onyear notably due to damage levels. James Davis, Manheim’s head of commercial vehicles, said: “The market is dependent on vehicle spec and condition across all sectors. Car-derived vans are more popular as they tend to have less damage. “This wide retail appeal, plus the lower average value, means that dealers prefer to stock these popular fast-turn models so that cashflow can be spread over two or three vans rather than one lateregistered larger van. “More and more damaged and high-mileage 3.5 tonne panel vans are being closely scrutinised and in many cases they are being left, as reconditioning is too time consuming and costly when retail demand is steady.” Shoreham Vehicle Auctions says demand for two- to four-year-old vans remains strong with traders continuing to pay higher prices. Managing director Alex Wright said: “We are confident that this year will continue to remain strong and stable. There will certainly be seasonal trends but we don’t expect anything untoward to upset the marketplace.” Despite occasional monthly segment anomalies, used LCV values broadly continue to rise and that, said Davis, “makes setting residual values very difficult as we see new registrations for commercial vehicles starting to increase, which could start to see prices soften very gradually”.

“The market is dependent on vehicle spec and condition across all sectors” James Davies, head of commercial vehicles, Manheim

24 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan


Advertisement feature

FOLLOW THE LEADER A B E S T PR AC T I C E G U I D E

This year’s Follow the Leader van best practice report highlights five key industry sectors. We’ve teamed up with a major supplier in each to provide you with in-depth and informative articles revealing the type of advice they offer to fleets. Drawing on their own experiences in the field, these experts offer best practice guidance to help you run a more effective fleet operation. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Van Rental

Rental: Hertz Wholelife costs: Lex Autolease Telematics: TomTom Incident reduction: FMG Vehicle utilisation and downtime reduction: LeasePlan


FOL LOW T H E L E A DE R : R E N TA L

Why you should steer clear of buying vans You never know what’s round the corner economically, so consider the options before giving a green light to big capital outlays on a new fleet, argues Laura Moran, commercial vehicle director at Hertz

S

o, who’d buy their own van fleet nowadays? Presumably, only someone with pretty deep pockets: costs of insurance, servicing, repairs, road tax and breakdown only ever seem to go in one direction. On top of that, you have the admin costs – a fleet obviously doesn’t run itself – the surprisingly steep capital depreciation and that occasionally nagging thought about what else you could have spent all that money on. That’s even before you decide how many vans you actually need. Do you go for the bare minimum? Or do you factor in a few extra to cover you for those (inevitable) unforeseen events, like breakdowns or a bigger than usual delivery? But then if you do that, it’s sod’s law that you’ll have expensively idle vans rather too often for your liking. That’s the problem with trying to build in flexibility – the current watchword for UK fleet managers – when you buy or lease. You always run the risk of having not enough vans one day and too many the next. I’ve spoken to many a fleet manager in recent times who, given the long and uncertain route toward economic recovery, has quite literally had sleepless nights in the lead-up to a van fleet renewal decision. You can see why: who’d feel completely comfortable recommending that sort of capital outlay? Once you pay for them, there’s no going back.

Hertz has 5,000 vans in its rental fleet

ments. When not in use, the fleet is securely stored, maintained and regularly checked by Hertz – making sure the vans are ready to go at the drop of a hat. Speedy’s fleet director, Ian Leonard, says: “This unique substitutevehicle arrangement means that we have readymade, identical replacement vehicles, designed to our specifications. This guarantees that our fleet is constantly on the road, keeping business ticking over, and making sure that the wellbeing of our drivers is taken care of cost-effectively.”

“Affordable monthly payments, no insurance or maintenance bills, and you choose how many vans you have on a daily basis”

The advantages of renting As a result, a growing number are opting to rent instead: affordable monthly payments; no insurance or maintenance bills; and they get to choose just how many vans they have on a daily basis. Value and flexibility in a nutshell. Now, as a Hertz woman I would say that, of course. But in times like these, renting really does make a genuinely compelling case. Take the example of Speedy Services, the UK’s leading provider of equipment rental and support services. It asked Hertz, in partnership with Lex Autolease, for exclusive access to a fleet of 18 LWB drop-side vans. The vans were customised to replicate the company’s core fleet and to meet its duty of care require-

Vans by the hour Hertz also has an On Demand service, where you can rent vans by the hour or longer from just £14. That’s handy enough, but an added advantage of the service is its use of in-vehicle telematics. It allows drivers to gain entry with a simple swipe of their key fob and it lets you see exactly where each van is.

Easy to manage That’s not all: it also lets you control your fleet directly through a user-friendly and fully customisable on-screen dashboard, which produces all the stats you need. You can even have a reservations website that can be designed – and fully branded – for your company. “The idea is to allow drivers to make, change or update bookings

For more information, call 0843 309 3111


Van Rental

The Hertz fleet includes every kind of van you might need

without even leaving their van,” says Paul Wareham, marketing manager at Hertz UK. “On Demand technology allows you to see where your vehicles are – and where they’re needed, at all times. So it gives you more control. And with it, a reduced fleet size need.”

Need a tipper? Hertz will come up with the goods

Nationwide access On the subject of fleet sizes, Hertz itself operates a fleet of more than 5,000 vans of up to 3.5 tonnes, meaning it will always be able to come up with the goods, so to speak. Large, medium and small Ford, Fiat, VW, Vauxhall and Mercedes vans all feature in the range. Not to mention Lutons, curtain-siders, single and crew-cab tippers, drop-sides and double or single-cab 4x4s. With branches all over the country, including 20 van ‘supersites’ equipped with on-site van experts and located for quick and easy access to motorways, Hertz is able to provide the rapid response that both large and small fleet managers expect, at both national and local levels. Believers in Van Excellence One other point to make, which isn’t exactly a deal-maker but certainly helps the pro-rental argument, is that the majority of the Hertz fleet is less than 12 months old. That makes the vans pretty fuel efficient on the whole, not to mention kinder on the environment, with Euro V engine technology to achieve optimum CO2 emissions. And let’s not forget that Hertz is a partner of the FTA Van Excellence programme too, which is about as much of a quality stamp as it’s possible to get these days.

or email hertzvans@hertz.com

In the end, it always depends on the way you look at these things. If flexibility comes above all else for you, then renting really is way out in front. If it’s purely about cost, it’s more complex, but rental still compares very favourably – at least in Hertz’s case – with any number of wholelife cost calculations. Personally, if I was a fleet manager right now, I’m not sure I could justify buying as opposed to renting in the current climate. Anyway, wherever you may sit on the discussion, I’d say at the very least give rental a try. Otherwise, you may never know what you’ve been missing.


F O L L O W T H E L E A D E R : W H O L E V E H I C L E T Y P E A P P R O VA L

Be prepared for new Type Approval rules Many commercial vehicle fleets may be unaware of exactly how the new legislation will affect them. Marcus Puddy, Commercial Vehicle Director at Lex Autolease, has the answers

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s we move through 2013, the hot topic for our industry is European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval. Many customers are already aware and prepared for the changes ahead but many are not. Below is a list of questions you may be asking yourself, with clear and easy explanations on what it all means for you. What is European Whole Vehicle Type Approval? The European approval scheme is based on the concept of “type approval” – the process provides a mechanism to ensure vehicles meet relevant environmental, safety and security standards. From a legislative point of view, all new vehicles made or imported for sale in the UK or across the EU cannot be sold or registered for use without type approval. However, European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) has been in place for various vehicle types since early 2010 and encompasses any amendments or fittings made to the original vehicle. How does this affect me? If you are running a number of vans that require conversion from a third party after April 29 2013, they may need Type Approval for the particular conversion. For example:

A Certificate of Conformity is required for chassis cab additions

n If you have a chassis cab, the bodybuilder needs to ensure a Certificate of Conformity for anything built on the back (tipper, caged tipper, flat bed with crane, for example) to give Type Approval. n For panel vans, the requirement is that any amendment to the vehicle that changes either mass or dimensions, emissions, the manufacturer’s electrical or hydraulic systems, adds windows or seats, affects braking or steering, or affects designated key components, will require the vehicle to be submitted by the final convertor for Whole Vehicle Type Approval. All this needs to be done prior to registration. Who needs to obtain the Type Approval? The responsibility for obtaining the EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval lies with the final converter of the vehicle. Any leasing company should ensure that the converters they work with hold a certificate of ‘Conformity of Production’ (CoP). Simply put, all converters need to demonstrate to the VCA that they have all the required process and systems. A clear example of this will be ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 to undertake any conversion. Once the vehicle has finished its conversion, some converters will have their own VCA testing lane and the VCA engineers can approve their conversions on site. If they don’t, the vehicle will need to go to a testing station for approval. Any documentation relating to this should be supplied with the vehicle for registration and PDI. It is important for the leasing company/vehicle owner to understand where the certificate or Type Approval is held. This will be required in the event of any VOSA inspections or if a vehicle is pulled over by VOSA inspectors. What if I am fitting racking or livery? Vehicle converters such as QI, Bott, Bri-Stor, alongside leasing providers and trade associations such as the BVRLA, SMMT and FTA, lobbied for an amendment to the original ECWVTA approach. In the middle of February the VCA released a communication detailing an ‘N1 enhancement scheme’ which removes the requirement for Type Approval for basic modifications. The amendment in the ECWVTA states: “Modifications to the vehicle which are of a semi-permanent or temporary nature (ie. not welded to the vehicle structure) can generally be treated as part of the vehicle payload. In addition, certain temporary modifications

For more information call Marcus Puddy on 07801 472247 email ma


Van racking is exempt from the requirement for Type Approval on the exterior of the vehicles, such as access steps, roof racks/bars, are to be treated in the same way.� It is therefore not necessary to obtain any specific approval to cover these kinds of modifications. However, as previously stated, the VCA is very specific that these modifications can only be completed by the converter which has demonstrated to VCA that it has adequate CoP measures in place (CoP certification). Is any of this going to delay my order and increase my costs? If you need Type Approval, this will do both. The vehicle will need approval from the VCA and therefore need to go for testing or await a VCA engineer to go on-site to test, which will delay the registration and PDI of the vehicle for onward delivery. It will also increase costs due to funding the approval and certification. If you are having conversions completed under ‘N1 Enhancement scheme’ then the converters may charge a little more for the investment and additional facilities they have needed to invest in to ensure they meet the VCA standards and gain the CoP certification.

How will I know which route to take? Any leasing company or converter will be able to assist you with any of your vehicle requirements. All the companies involved in any of these legislative changes want to make this as pain free as possible but enable you to understand the changes so they are clear and unambiguous. Lex Autolease has helped many organisations of all sizes meet relevant environmental and safety standards and find their most effective funding solution. We are here to help you make this important decision. How can I make this easy for me? Look at your vehicle fleet today and ask yourself how many different variants you have. Then look to see whether you could streamline these from more than five variants to just two or three and then stick with them. At the same time, you should understand what you need and what the company needs for its continued growth and future. You can then be sure that you have minimised your costs as well as your time.

marcus.puddy@lexautolease.co.uk or visit www.lexautolease.co.uk


FOL LOW T H E L E A DE R : T E L E M AT IC S

A smart solution to the service dilemma Customers expect higher and higher standards of service nowadays and modern technology enables providers to meet those expectations

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onsumer trust has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years, leaving businesses with the unenviable task of improving service delivery at a time of economic recession. The financial climate makes it difficult to justify renewed investment in systems and processes, yet this hasn’t prevented customers from demanding ever greater levels of service excellence. Research conducted by TomTom discovered that 90% of UK van drivers admit to turning up late for appointments, even though 78% of consumers said they would be less likely to use a company again that failed to give precise or acceptable times lots. As a result, a command of fleet management technology has become an essential string to the modern fleet manager’s bow. Far beyond traditional vehicle tracking, advanced systems offer a wealth of tools designed to extract simultaneous gains in productivity, efficiency and service delivery, while also cutting costs. By harnessing the technology’s full potential, businesses have been able to achieve swift ROI and equip themselves to maintain an even stronger competitive edge. Leading IT and network specialist exceeds customer expectations ISG Technology has successfully slashed admin time and boosted productivity to ensure the demands of its customers are satisfied. Handling a minimum of 300 service calls per week, the company provides a broad range of networking, IT and multisourcing solutions from five service delivery centres throughout the UK and one European support centre in Bulgaria. It is acutely aware of the need to maintain the highest possible standards of service at a highly competitive price. Customers expect a prompt and reliable service so ISG realised the need to become more efficient and competitive in the management of its large team of engineers. The business already used a service desk system, Tesseract, for scheduling appointments and needed a telematics system which would integrate seamlessly with the existing back-office system. Tesseract recommended TomTom and ISG opted to install Link in-vehicle tracking units, Pro navigation devices and ecoPlus fuel monitoring devices in 59 of its engineers’ vans. This solution allows the fleet manager to monitor the movements of their vehicle fleet and get a handle on driver behaviour, while

WEBFLEET has reduced ISG Technology’s administration time the drivers themselves become more productive by using live traffic services and dynamic routing to cut down on time spent in traffic. By keeping tabs on the location of each vehicle and taking into account the real-time traffic picture, it becomes easier to select the nearest and most appropriate engineer for each job. As a result, customers are given more accurate appointment times and can be swiftly notified in the event of any delays to ensure expectations are easily managed.

For more information call 02072559774, email uk.busi


TomTom’s WEBFLEET provides automated reporting

Printer specialist Danwood increased productivity by 7%

From an efficiency and cost-saving point of view, ISG has introduced a scheme for the improvement of driver behaviour, involving a set of KPIs and company benchmarks for drivers to aspire to. TomTom’s OptiDrive indicator gives drivers a profile based on four key elements of safe and efficient driving: speeding, driving events, idling and fuel consumption. Regular reports are sent to line managers so safe driving can be rewarded, while training time and budget can be focused on those individuals and areas which fall below the benchmark levels. Furthermore, Active Driver Feedback allows drivers to gain a real-time insight into how they are driving through their in-cab navigation devices. The unit gives audible alerts if it detects harsh or unsafe driving practice, allowing behaviour to be addressed at source. ISG has been able to save 12 hours of administration time each month. Reports detailing the number of hours driven by engineers are generated instantaneously by TomTom’s WEBFLEET software, cutting out the long download time required by the previous system. “TomTom has made us much more efficient in many areas, from job dispatch to logging working hours and mileage. We are now able to offer an even better service and experience to our customers,” says Graham Reardon, head of business systems at ISG Technology.

The company has a large team of service engineers, 365 of whom are employed out on the road, so productivity is crucial to the company’s reputation and cost-effectiveness, necessitating a solution which enabled accurate route planning, vehicle tracking and efficiency monitoring. TomTom’s Link 300 in-vehicle tracking device was installed throughout Danwood’s fleet, allowing for remote tracking and connection to WEBFLEET for automated reporting. The only evidence of the system in the engineers’ cars is a black ‘privacy’ button which they use to designate when the journey they are undertaking is for private rather than business purposes. Once installed, the company noticed results almost immediately, with the average number of customer visits per day increasing from 4.5 to 4.8. Drivers have also adopted a safer, more efficient driving style, resulting in an average increase in miles per gallon of 10% over a six-month period, while CO2 emissions have reduced by 23% year on year. The system also streamlines mileage reports with the introduction of automated mileage sheets which, coupled with fuel card information, have enabled any private mileage to be reclaimed directly from salaries. “With a service-driven business, this increase has had a significant impact,” said Danwood‘s group service project manager, Jim Innes. “It will enable us to establish faster and even more accurate time frames for response as every driver movement is tracked. Better route planning has meant that the engineer’s working day is now fully utilised to maximise customer visits. “We are one of the first companies in our industry to introduce telematics and, while this has been a big project, return on investment has been achieved in less than six months. “The ability to determine our service response times with pinpoint accuracy will certainly give us a leading edge when talking to prospective customers.”

“The company achieved a 7% increase in customer visits per day and realised return on its investment within just six months”

Danwood reaches new levels of productivity while cutting costs Printer solutions specialist Danwood achieved a 7% increase in the number of customer visits carried out per day and realised return on its investment in fleet management technology within just six months. The largest independent supplier of office printing equipment, consumables and associated management services in Europe, Danwood has offices throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland, offering business support services to a range of organisations. It prides itself on offering specialist expertise with the personal touch.

iness@tomtom.com or visit www.tomtom.com/business


FOL LOW T H E L E A DE R : I NC I DE N T R E DUC T ION

Time to take back the road

Effective fleet management can improve the image of white van man

Smarter solutions may enable white van man to regain his reputation on UK roads

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veryone has heard the stereotypes. White van man has long been a derided member of the British motoring community. The bully of the playground; arrogant and uncaring. Popular culture has done much to propagate this perception and the resulting image has left a scar on the reputation of the many good professional drivers out there. Ford once ran an advertising campaign for the Transit, depicting it as the backbone of the country. This is not far from the truth, with businesses of all sizes and capabilities using a fleet of vans for a range of tasks, helping to keep the economy moving. What some companies don’t realise is that your vans are your brand. In many instances they are a two-tonne advertisement for your business. How they look and, crucially, how they are driven, reflect on your values and image as a company. Consumers and the public at large make their decisions about a brand in seconds, and share their opinions on social media – amplifying the reputational damage. If one of your drivers cuts up somebody, swears at another road user or scratches the paintwork on a parked car, your business – by association – is the guilty party. Vans, more than any other vehicle, are under intense scrutiny and by not taking that risk seriously, companies are paying the consequences. FMG’s suite of risk reduction services starts with the driver at the heart of the equation. A top-down approach to risk reduction and driver behaviour, while a good start, just won’t cut the mustard. By working from within to truly understand businesses, we can offer the insight and understanding needed to communicate the right message in the right way. Buy-in at board level is vital, but no more so than buy-in from the frontline staff putting in the miles on the roads. It’s not a case of spying on drivers and trying to catch them out. Better driving is in everybody’s interest, something our industry has not always communicated well and something we’re addressing.

The role of telemetry Telemetry has to be considered as part of the solution. Technology is progressing at a rate of knots and, accordingly, systems are significantly less costly than they were. Furthermore, encouraging and incentivising better driving can save companies, in our experience, up to 20% on fuel spend alone, not to mention the less tangible benefits of keeping your people safe and reducing accidents. Indeed, many insurance policies are now becoming more reliant on accurate in-vehicle data to identify and manage out risk. Data is the key to reducing risk, whether from one or more telemetry systems or from other business intelligence resources. Even those without telemetry-based insurance policies are seeing the benefits of reduced premiums as a result of improved driver performance. These changes to the overall standard of business driving, and the way smarter systems are developing, are best demonstrated by the results we’ve delivered for our customers. Following a trial period where incident rates were cut by 75%, FMG’s driver behaviour system has been rolled out across Safestyle’s 500-vehicle fleet. By using FMG’s unique portals, which present data in a way that can be easily downloaded and reported on, fleet performance has tangibly improved. The system has received positive feedback from the company’s drivers, who say Ingenium Dynamics has also

“Changes to the standard of driving are demonstrated by the results we’ve delivered”

To find out more, please visit www.fmg.co.uk,


FMG helps companies avoid accidents

Telemetry is key to better driving

helped save them money on weekly fuel bills. As well as the fuel saving to be made, incidents and accidents cost money. According to the HSE, they can actually cost up to 36 times more than the upfront cost of a repair. The scratched paintwork that costs £400 to fix at the local garage? Take into account reputational cost, vehicle downtime and uninsured losses, then think again. Prevention better than cure FMG sees accidents as the end of the cycle, not the beginning. By taking a proactive approach to fleet management, our aim is to prevent accidents happening in the first place. Prevention is better than cure. That ethos runs right through the business in everything we do. It’s not enough to simply preach about a product or course of action. As a responsible company, we engage our people in driver safety and behaviour. We invest in training and make sure we have the right accreditations to meet the demands of business. Our results speak for themselves. We were recently honoured to win the award for Safety Initiative of the Year at the Fleet Van Awards. Customers have seen accidents reduced, costs saved and real benefits to the bottom-line. Utilities provider sees incidents halved In another example, a utilities provider with a large van fleet experienced an immediate positive impact on business. By working with FMG, the company saw incidents halve. Additionally, a rise in

driver standards has been seen across the board, which has led them to raise the benchmark for an acceptable journey. Whereas journeys previously scored over 80% were deemed acceptable, this figure has now been raised to 90%, reflecting an on-going improvement across the fleet. Nearly all the drivers are now achieving the standard, which is monitored on an on-going basis. Over a third of employees now record scores of 99%, with the incidence of combined ‘yellow and red’ journeys halved. The FMG system has provided evidence of a progressive improvement in driver behaviour. These results led the finance director to comment: “FMG’s service has already delivered significant improvements to fleet performance. In the year we have been working with them, we’ve quickly seen safety standards rise across the fleet, with a dramatic reduction in accident numbers. We anticipate that this will result in a discount in insurance premiums. There have also been improvements in fuel efficiency and more accurate information on mileage returns, resulting in a whole company appreciation of the performance enhancements the system can deliver. The results have exceeded our expectations and we’re looking forward to further performance improvements as the relationship develops.” So, while effective fleet management is about more than dispelling the image of white van man, there is an important message. Fleet matters to business. Cost is a catch-all term that means more than just fuel, insurance and leasing. By bringing in smarter solutions to manage commercial fleets more effectively, the van drivers of the UK can reclaim the road.

email info@fmg.co.uk or phone 0844 243 8888


FOL LOW T H E L E A DE R : V E H IC L E U T I L I SAT ION/ D OW N T I M E

You deliver, because we deliver LeasePlan UK’s teams of van specialists are as comfortable in their overalls as in their suits, combining ‘under the bonnet’ know-how with the qualities required to run an efficient fleet

Want to get in touch? Tel: 0844 826 1241


REDUCTION

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ith LeasePlan’s 35,000 commercial vehicles across the UK, you’re probably closer to one of our vehicles than you think. Managing a big fleet gives us a real advantage; it means we’ve worked with every sort of business, running every type of vehicle imaginable. So whether you need help with your fleet of builder’s trucks, delivery vans or specialist vehicles such as electric sweepers or refuse vehicles – you can be confident that we’ll understand just how your commercial vehicle fleet works. What does LeasePlan’s approach to commercial vehicles mean for our customers? Commercial vehicles bring with them a unique set of challenges. And as a result, simply adjusting solutions originally designed for company cars is not good enough – albeit a mistake (we’re told) still being made by some leasing companies. Because it makes sense, at LeasePlan we have an entirely different approach to managing commercial vehicles. And what’s more, it has been created by experts in their field, who truly understand the needs of your business.

a commercial vehicle is off the road n Explore opportunities to reduce downtime and increase the efficiency of your fleet n Analyse the effectiveness of fuel management and accident management n Examine potential opportunities to improve your manufacturer supply terms n Create a profile of your commercial vehicle fleet and demonstrate benefits of vehicle and contract specific advice n Provide ongoing advice, guidance and recommendations on legislation and technical aspects of fleet n Provide pro-active servicing and out-of-hours maintenance options to improve vehicle ‘uptime’

“Commercial vehicles bring with them a unique set of challenges”

Understanding the bigger picture LeasePlan’s starting point in creating the perfect commercial vehicle fleet is to make sure that we clearly understand the ‘bigger picture’ (your needs, operational pressures and key processes). So whether it’s your goal to save money, get from A to B as safely as possible or simply to make the most of vehicle and driver time on the road, with a sound knowledge informing everything we do – we’ll create a series of recommendations designed to help you meet those goals. Walking the walk And because we believe that expertise shouldn’t just be talked about, we routinely: n Identify areas where tangible cost savings can be achieved through our yearly Value Statements n Identify the ‘real’ cost of downtime to your business – every time

You’re different If we’ve learnt one thing from our experience, it’s that no two fleets are the same. So whether you’re operating a fleet of refuse trucks in the public sector, running a large corporate logistics fleet or you’re a sole trader with one essential (‘couldn’t do my job without it’) van – you can be sure that our commercial vehicle team will deliver a solution that’s personalised to you and your business. By taking the time to find out what really makes your organisation tick, we’re confident that we’ll deliver a smart solution that will help you hit your business goals. We’re all about getting the spec right – and right first time We’ll help get to the bottom of what the actual job need is for your commercial vehicle and challenge the norm to help find the right vehicle, right specification and right funding method to match. And once we’re agreed on the spec, we’ll manage the quote, order and delivery process on your behalf. But it doesn’t end there LeasePlan’s technical teams are there to keep your commercial vehicles on the road and in good condition. And when it comes to doing it all again, we’ll look at second lifecycle opportunities to re-use ancillary equipment and manage replacement and renewal with minimal fuss to make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Out-of-the-box thinking Multi-purpose vehicles are being used by public sector organisations to walk the line between wasting funds on under-utilised vehicles and being wholly unprepared when the worst happens. The Iveco Daily 4x4 delivered to Fife NHS was the first vehicle of its kind in the country. Its beauty is in its adaptability. The Daily has been working hard in recent weeks clearing snow from access roads and car parks across five NHS sites – a task made possible by its snow plough attachment. It has also helped with gritting, using its drop-side body Snow Ex 7500 grit spreader. Because it’s a 4x4 vehicle, it was able to

Email: lcv@leaseplan.co.uk

reach areas that other gritters couldn’t manage. However, unlike more traditional snow ploughs or gritters, the summer months won’t see this vehicle spend all its time under wraps. The ancillary equipment can be changed to make it ideal for a number of other seasonal tasks, such as grass cutting, hedge trimming, towing mobile shredders for felled trees, or transporting tools around the area to help with roadside repairs. It’s the kind of solution that demonstrates LeasePlan’s ability to deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions for commercial vehicle customers.


Industr y spotlight Peugeot

PEUGEOT HAS LEASING FIRMS IN ITS SIGHTS After 2012 sales triumph van maker eyes 20% leasing growth

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By Trevor Gehlcken n an LCV market that was down 7.9% last year, Peugeot’s 10% rise in sales stood out like a beacon in a storm. That rise in a falling market is laudable in itself, but add to this the fact that Peugeot didn’t have any new product launches – a move that would usually bring an increase in sales – and those extra sales seem extraordinary. So what’s behind this spiralling success story that saw Peugeot leapfrog its PSA partner Citroën in the van sales charts in 2012? Part of the reason is the verve and enthusiasm of director of fleet and used vehicles Phil Robson, who has spearheaded Peugeot’s van sales strategy for the past four years. Robson was understandably in a buoyant and upbeat mood when we caught up with him in Birmingham. He says: “While the SME market has remained depressed, we have seen a huge rise in the number of big fleet deals as more and more companies find acceptance with our product. “Since we launched the Bipper in 2008, a lot of fleets have realised that they can downsize and save money. “Many people who, say, used to buy short wheelbase Boxers now choose long wheelbase Experts as they are more cost-effective. The same has happened with people downsizing from Partner to Bipper.” The Partner ATV (all terrain vehicle) is proving a major success, too. It uses the vehicle’s electronic stability control (ESC) system to maintain traction in off-road situations for the two front wheels. It has five selectable modes to cover snow, ice, mud, wet grass and sand. The system electronically controls the torque on the front wheels by as much as 100% – well beyond the normal limits for a limited slip differential. What this means in practice is near four-wheel drive capability without the usual expense associated with a full off-road system. Peugeot has found sales mainly in Scotland and Northern

The Peugeot range covers just about all fleet needs

36 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

Ireland with fleets such as the Forestry Commission and local councils in hilly areas. Robson’s strategy during his time in office differs from that of some other manufacturers. Whereas some rival van makers have been opening specialist van centres and gaining fleet sales that way, Robson firmly believes that big fleet deals should come through his specialist team of 34 in Coventry and then fed through the dealer network for aftersales support. He says: “In these days of recession and with money tight, dealers will not invest in expensive new premises unless they know there will be a return on their investment. If my team manages to secure the big fleet deals, this business will be passed down to the dealer network and they will be encouraged to invest in keeping those fleet buyers happy.” One other difference between Peugeot’s dealer network and some others is that cars and vans are invariably dealt with by the same sales team. “Most fleets which buy vans also buy cars and we don’t want buyers to have to negotiate with two different sets of people,” says Robson. “If a potential customer walks through a dealer’s door we want to be able to sell cars and vans from the same desk and we believe that’s what our buyers would want to happen.” Peugeot has 235 dealers in the UK, of which 120 are business centres. Robson says between 40 and 50 of these would be able to offer van fleet operators a totally bespoke solution for individual customers. However, he stressed that all dealers were able to call on his fleet team to back up any more unusual fleet requests. Another area where Robson has found sales success is with Peugeot’s van conversions. Most manufacturers now offer a good range of conversions but he believes that Peugeot’s are better than most, thanks to the its stringent conditions for accepting partners. Robson says: “Of all the converters who approach us to

ABOVE: Phil Robson – his verve and enthusiasm helped Peugeot to a 10% sales rise in 2012

Fact File Company: Peugeot Name: Phil Robson Job title: Director, fleet and used vehicle sales Brief career history: More than 16 years at Peugeot, including general manager of dealerships, used vehicle operations manager, dealer standards manager and other dealer-facing roles Favourite book: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness Favourite film: The Usual Suspects Favourite holiday destination: Australia What three records would you take to a desert island?: Jake Bugg Jake Bugg, Emeli Sandé Our Version of Events and the World Record for Boat Building!


Electric van will cost just £17,000 after grant

“Maybe we haven’t been making enough of how good our vans are” Phil Robson, Peugeot use our vehicles as a base, probably about 5% are accepted. At the end of the day it is our badge on the front of the vehicle and if it isn’t up to scratch, it is us who will suffer. “We have developed some fantastic business relationships with our converters and we believe we now have the best range.” Robson admits that in the past, Peugeot put too much emphasis on its car side of the business and he has been working hard to readdress this. “Maybe we haven’t been making enough of how good our vans are in the past and it’s something I have been working to improve,” he says. “I believe that now we have a general end-user acceptance of the Peugeot brand and this year I will be looking to improve our acceptance by the leasing companies.” Robson is at a loss to say why the big leasing firms have tended to ignore the Peugeot brand, but vowed: “We are aiming to increase our sales to leasing companies by 20% this year although there won’t be any high discounts – we still need to make sure our business makes a profit. “We have realised that the Peugeot brand is worth something and we have got to be more outgoing about the strengths of our vehicle range.”

The electric vehicle market was always going to be niche, but it has already had its fair share of teething troubles with concerns over range, battery charging, detrioration and pricing. Two firms, Modec and Azure Dynamics (the latter made the Ford Transit Connect Electric), have already gone out of business. In the words of one expert familiar with the Ford business, its failure has “set EVs back by 10 years”. Into this mix enters Peugeot with a van that substantially undercuts the opposition. So how will Robson be marketing a vehicle which looks destined to remain a niche product, especially at a time when Renault has professed its intentions of leading the electric van field? He says: “We believe that price is the challenge with electric vans, not worries about limited range. Many vans do the same route every day and return to a depot, which is well within the capability of electric vehicles, and we have taken this into account when setting our pricing strategy.” That strategy is eye-popping. The Partner Electric will retail at less than £17,000 after Government grants – against around £40,000 for the old Azure Connect. Even Renault can’t match this figure – its Kangoo ZE Electric costs around £17,000 but Renault leases the batteries separately at around £80 per month, adding another £4,800 over five years. But Robson believes that even this cut-throat pricing will not lead to a huge uptake of electric vans. He says: “We are expecting to sell 200 to 300 in the first full year and we have to accept that electric vans will remain a niche product for the foreseeable future.” So what is the future for a greener, more fuelefficient form of LCV power? Robson says: “We are going to see a lot more hybrid technology in vans in the future although I can’t put a date on this. We should also not discount small, fuel-efficient petrol engines for smaller vans.” This technology is not pie in the sky dreaming – it is already available in Peugeot cars. A hybrid system in which the front wheels are driven by a diesel engine while the rear wheels are electric powered is available in 3008 and 5008 models, achieving fuel economy of up to 70 miles per gallon, while a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine offering 74mpg is available on the 208.

RIGHT: The Partner Electric is being launched this year with a price tag of less than £17,000

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 37


Fleet case study Clancy Group

GROUP FOCUS ON DRIVER SAFETY PAYS DIVIDENDS How running a safer fleet has helped reduce costs

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By John Charles ealth and safety is part of the DNA of Clancy Group so it is no surprise that the company wanted to ensure it had in place a comprehensive audit trail of drivers, vehicle and journeys as a key part of its duty of care. But more than three years ago the privately-owned £250 million turnover Clancy Group, best known via its civil engineering and utilities division Clancy Docwra, announced it wanted to achieve a step-change in its health and safety performance. Four key areas of the Middlesex-based company’s business were designated as ‘high risk’, one of which was at-work driving. The company’s comprehensive online occupational road risk management system has now been in place for 18 months. Data shows that alongside its other safe driving interventions such as speed limiters and in-vehicle tracking devices that monitor driving style the number of accidents has been reduced. The incidents involving drivers of its 1,000 strong fleet of mainly light commercial vans peaked at almost 350 in 2007/8 and 2008/9. Rear-end shunts by Clancy Group drivers or third party road users are the two single biggest causes of company Ian Housley took vehicle keys off drivers who failed to register

38 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

vehicle incidents followed by damage to parked vehicles typically when manoeuvring in urban areas. The company already undertook driver licence validation checks with the DVLA and employees watched a ‘safe driving’ video during their induction. However, the company’s strategic Health, Safety and Environmental Strategic Forum – which is made up of directors – wanted a greater focus on at-work driver safety. Group governance and compliance manager Ian Housley explains: “Occupational road risk was identified by the forum as being one of the key issues impacting on the group’s performance in terms of the health and safety of its employees and drivers; the health and safety of other road users impacted on by our operations; and the commercial impacts associated with vehicle incidents in terms of injury compensation, accident repairs costs and loss of revenue through down time of our vehicles.” The company looked for third party help in meeting its occupational road risk objectives and decided that ARI Fleet’s RiskMaster coupled with the issuing of a Permit to Drive to employees and the system’s ability to compile a Driver Operating Life Report met its requirements. Permit to Drive registration was a concept familiar to the majority of the company’s employees as in the construction industry staff obtain a ‘ticket’ to use specialist equipment such as a forklift truck, an excavator and a dumper truck having demonstrated their competence. Housley says: “Extending the principle of ‘ticketing’ to the company car and van arena with the introduction of RiskMaster was not too difficult as the mindset was already established. Many employees have four or five ‘tickets’ proving their competence to use certain equipment on construction sites so another ‘ticket’ would not be too much of a stretch and made RiskMaster easier to sell.” Nevertheless, a handful of employees failed to register on RiskMaster, which led to their right to drive company vehicles being removed. Housley says: “We adopted the principle of no Permit to Drive then no keys to vehicles. We took the vehicle keys off some drivers, which meant they would be unable to do their job and therefore wouldn’t get paid. They soon registered.” The Clancy Group is also accredited to the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence programme. As well as requiring high levels of servicing and maintenance of the fleet, it also requires driver training and assessment to be in place which sits well with the RiskMaster programme. Clancy Docwra’s focus on reducing its crash risk and its contribution to improving road safety was recognised with a highly commended in the annual Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards. Following an initial RiskMaster pilot programme it was decided to officially launch the scheme company wide in May 2011.

ABOVE: A ticketing system restricts who can drive a Clancy vehicle

1,600

drivers are registered at the Clancy Group

17.8%

Accident frequency rate – well below the 37% average


Today more than 1,600 drivers – of which 925 drive LCVs – are registered on RiskMaster, although the nature of the business with construction contracts finishing and new ones starting means that the number of staff enrolled varies as employees are recruited or leave to meet demand. The focus on occupational road risk management is delivering a range of benefits for Clancy Docwra including: n An anticipated return on investment from a reduction in accident costs n A comprehensive driver, vehicle and journey audit trail meeting duty-of-care best practice n Online data that enables the bespoke targeting of driver training interventions Housley says: “A reduction in our accident costs of less than 10% will cover the cost of RiskMaster.” He anticipates that it could take around three years for consistent data to emerge highlighting the benefits of the safe driving initiative. Nevertheless, benchmarked against 25 other companies from a cross-section of industry sectors, reveals Clancy Docwra’s LCV fleet to be ranked second with an accident frequency of 17.8% well below the 37% average. Housley says: “We are recording a downward trend and based on industry recognised accident frequency statistics we are already up with the best. But we are not complacent.” It is anticipated that the impact of fewer accidents, with industry evidence also suggesting that incidents that do

“A reduction in our accident costs of less than 10% will cover the cost of RiskMaster” Ian Housley, Clancy Group

occur are less severe so resulting in lower costs, will also contribute to reduced fuel bills and savings in service, maintenance and repair costs as employees drive more sympathetically. Housley says: “Not only is RiskMaster helping to change driver behaviour, but the technology is being used as an online information gathering hub to enable the company to further improve operating cost management and better target interventions as well as meeting its legal obligations.” A major staff communications programme in the build up to RiskMaster launch started with a text message to employees. The programme was then ramped up to include tool box talks, emails, posters in construction site cabins, leaflets, letters, notices included with payslips, board reports

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 39


Fleet case study Clancy Docwra

and presentations at various meetings. Additionally, Clancy Group faced the challenge of initially signing up almost 1,500 employees to RiskMaster but not all staff had access to a computer either at work or home to complete online registration. Housley says: “We arranged for all staff to register either at head office or one of our five depots across the UK. We achieved 98% compliance from start-up. It was not easy, but it shows that an intensive communication programme does help to achieve the objective.” Board approval for the implementation of RiskMaster was critical, according to Housley, with joint company chairmen Kevin and Dermot Clancy among the first to register. Drivers are issued with a Permit to Drive on Clancy Group business after the validity of their driving licence has been checked with the DVLA, they have completed an online assessment, and documentation relating to their driving history – accidents and motoring offences – has been uploaded into the system. The system creates an individual comprehensive Driver Operating Life Report from which data is used to continually assess employees in their at-work driving activity. The Driver Operating Life Report builds to contain a dayby-day record of each person’s driving history currently recorded by Clancy Group through document checks, including endorsements and accident data feeds uploaded monthly from reports provided by insurer Aviva. The next stage is to use the information from Tracker’s in-vehicle fleet driving style module which monitors acceleration, idling, braking, hours driven, cornering, distance travelled, speed and type of road. Information will be used to further target, on a proactive basis, interventions where drivers are deemed to be at risk. Housley says: “Tracker is able to monitor driving style and that enables us to make interventions to prevent incidents from happening and reduce vehicle wear and tear which in turn will reduce maintenance costs.” The severity of incidents logged on to an employee’s Driver

40 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

“The fact that our employees know we are monitoring their driving behaviour is resulting in a change of attitude when behind the wheel” Ian Housley, Clancy Group

98%

compliance was achieved from start-up

£200

Red Letter Day vouchers can be won for safe driving

Operating Life Report is measured in points linked to two thresholds that trigger interventions. On reaching the lower threshold drivers discuss issues with their line manager or supervisor to confirm that the points are correct and then undertake an online training course. If the higher points threshold is reached a second discussion with their line manager or supervisor is held and their driving skills are assessed through a half-day on-theroad training session. Housley says: “RiskMaster is not a disciplinary tool. We want to monitor all employees’ driving and that will help meet the board’s aim of further improving the health and safety of our staff while reducing the number of incidents involving our vehicles which costs the business money.” Historically drivers deemed to have an at-fault accident have contributed £100 towards Clancy Group’s insurance excess. However, with the introduction of RiskMaster, the company introduced a quarterly Aviva-sponsored rewards programme that recognises safe driving with the potential to win £200 worth of Red Letter Day vouchers. Housley says: “The fact that our employees know that we are monitoring their driving behaviour is resulting in a change of attitude when behind the wheel. The initiatives now in place are assisting in achieving a step change in performance in terms of accident numbers. However, it is not an overnight journey.”


Fleet News readers recommend their top suppliers The Fleet News Reader Recommended programme is now in its fifth year. Once again, fleets have been voting for their top suppliers across key industry segments. A business may have excellent products, but ultimately referrals and recommendations are given as a result of outstanding customer service. Reader Recommended allows fleets to have their say about the companies they believe offer the best service. We have received hundreds of opinions via an extensive

research programme conducted among our readers. The fleet business sectors highlighted in Fleet Van for 2013 are telematics, fleet management software and contract hire and leasing. Details of the companies recommended by Fleet News readers in each of those three fleet sectors are covered over the next few pages. To find out who is recommended in all nine categories, go to www.fleetnews.co.uk/suppliers/recommended/

FLEET NEWS READER RECOMMENDED


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Fleet News readers once again pick Alphabet as the one to follow A

lphabet was founded on a simple premise. Actions speak louder than words. As someone once said: “You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do.” We set out to win fleets’ business and respect in the only way that counts: by understanding what they need and then delivering it every day to the highest standard. One thing you always find behind great service is great people. So we are delighted, for the second year running, that Fleet News readers have chosen us in the contract hire category of the Reader Recommended list.

Supporting your commercial vehicle requirements Our highly-experienced team can guide you through the complex process of vehicle specification, preparation, maintenance and disposal – ensuring ‘best advice’ every step of the way. We can provide you with a complete fleet management solution, covering all commercial vehicles from car-derived vans up to 5.0t GVW. Whatever your requirements, we can provide vehicles to suit your business’s individual needs; be it the need for a drop-side body, wheelchairaccessible minibus, panel van or a messing vehicle with toilets and showers. We can assist with vehicle livery and conversion and offer you a mobile servicing solution and advice and guidance through the maze of LOLER compliance. Experience counts and whatever your requirements, our flexible, comprehensive approach will deliver a solution to suit your needs and will be implemented by our specialist teams in a cost-effective, efficient manner.

Fleet News readers live and breathe professional fleet management, which makes your choice a fantastic recognition of the achievements of our team as well as the competitive, forward-looking solutions we deliver. These days, change is quickening in pace everywhere you look. Businesses are looking for different ways of managing their human and fleet resources as fleet, HR and finance professionals find themselves juggling increasing workloads and responsibilities for travel and cost management. In this maze of change, we are the company to follow. You can turn to us for across-the-board fleet management experience, marketplace influence, cutting-edge systems and a comprehensive range of solutions for companies of all sizes and in any sector. And for your emerging needs, we are already bringing exciting new fleet solutions on to the market. By anticipating and reacting to changing dynamics like the growing demand for non-personal cars, we are creating accessible solutions that will keep everyone in your business on the move. And we will continue to do it with skill, enthusiasm and a close eye on all the details which adds up to the Alphabet difference.

Tel 0870 50 50 100 website: www.alphabet.co.uk mail to:alphabet@alphabet.co.uk


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Quartix voted top telematics supplier for the fifth year running F

or the fifth year running, Quartix has been recommended as the top telematics provider by Fleet News readers. “We are delighted to have once again won this prestigious accolade. It is proof of the consistently high standard of our vehicle tracking system and dedication of our team to deliver outstanding customer service,” said Andy Kirk, sales and marketing director. Quartix is renowned for its transparent pricing and flexible terms, comprehensive reporting and customer-focused approach which has enabled it to grow substantially over the past few years: more than 75,000 Quartix systems have now been installed and the company is currently installing new systems at a rate of 3,000 per month. This year also saw Quartix introduce a new user interface, boasting a fresh look and optimised features. “We are constantly striving to offer the best system to our customers – we invest a great deal to make sure our users have access to the latest technology and all the tools are optimised for their needs. By designing and developing all our own technology, we are able to maintain our leading edge position,” said Kirk. Quartix also recorded sales growth of more than 20% as a result of its market-leading driving-style monitoring suite, as fleet managers increasingly turn to telematics to save fuel and improve the safety of their mobile workforce. This service, which is capable of saving fleet operators as much as £20,000 a year on a fleet of 20 vehicles, detects speeds, harsh braking and acceleration. Using a combination of GPS data and the sensitive “black box” style monitoring built into the Quartix Telematics device, rapid acceleration and braking can be accurately recorded and processed. The management information is provided in simple and easy-to-read graphical reports. The Quartix Driving-Style feature is not connected to the vehicle’s CAN-Bus, which allows reliable driver comparisons across all vehicle types and avoids the problems commonly associated with CAN-bus based systems. Today, more than 4,500 fleet customers across a wide range of sectors use Quartix’s web-based service.  On average, more than 130 new fleet customers take up the Quartix system every month. “Over half of all Quartix orders come from referrals or repeat business, which shows the level of customer satisfaction and trust in our system is extremely high,” adds Kirk. A significant highlight of the year was the winning of a contract from LOCOG for the provision of 650 tracking systems used in courtesy cars during the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012.

Leading insurers use Quartix technology Quartix has established itself as a leading provider of telematics for the pay-as-you-drive insurance market in the UK. During the year Quartix telematics hardware and systems were used by its insurance partner, Wunelli Ltd, in the launch of three major new youngdriver programmes with the AA, Swinton and Hastings. At the end of 2012, Wunelli also selected the Quartix system for the Co-Operative’s highly-successful young driver programme. Since the start of 2013, Quartix systems have also been used in the Sheilas’ Wheels telematics product, and two more insurance launches are planned in the coming months. The Quartix system is also used to reduce the cost of fleet-based insurance, notably with its acclaimed driving-style monitoring feature which enables insurers to reward better driving and fleet managers to easily identify which drivers need to work towards a safer conduct on the road.

For pricing and a brochure call 0870 013 6663 or go to www.quartix.net


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Continuous improvement keeps Jaama at cutting edge of software C

ontrolling fleet costs continues to remain high on company agendas and has driven many to embrace online technology to help meet their fleet budget targets while simultaneously reducing administration. Spend to save has been a campaign message from Jaama for almost 18 months and fleets, leasing and rental companies are increasingly recognising the benefits of such a strategy. Jaama sales and operations director Martin Evans said: “Our customers are cutting fleet operating costs through effective use of software. They have realised the importance of investing in technology that will deliver significant benefits and administrative savings.” The majority of Jaama’s new business is from customer referrals and this confidence in the its well-established, multi award-winning Key2 Vehicle Management system is one of the main reasons it has achieved Fleet Van Reader Recommended status for the fifth consecutive year. Evans said: “The return on investment generated from Key2

Employee buy-in is critical Acquiring fleet management software is not the same as buying a tin of beans off the shelf. Sometimes procurement departments drive the process and will choose the cheapest solution that appears to tick all of the functional requirement boxes. But the key question to be asked is what quantifiable benefits can different software systems deliver? Return on investment falls into two areas – fleet operational benefits, including financial savings, improved compliance, greater vehicle utilisation etc. and savings in administration time as processes become more automated. It is therefore critical for businesses to obtain buy-in from the employees who are ultimately going to be using the system. Jaama sales and operations director Martin Evans said: “The whole department should be engaged in selecting new systems to ensure that their requirements will be fulfilled and avoid them believing that the software change has been imposed on them.”

– both financial and administrative time savings – means our software is a ‘must-have’ for fleet managers.” In support of commercial vehicle fleets, Jaama became one of the first organisation’s to partner the FTA’s Van Excellence scheme – the industry-led initiative designed to raise standards and improve the image of the UK’s growing van sector. Key2 is used by many LCV fleet operators that are members of the Van Excellence programme, including Amey, DHL International (UK), Enterprise Managed Services, Norse Commercial Services and South Central Ambulance Trust. Meanwhile, Prohire, which operates a fleet of more than 2,000 commercial vehicles and specialist vehicles, is the latest contract hire and repair specialist to implement Key2. Prohire IT manager Jim McAlinden said: “The benefits gained from our perspective and our customers far outweigh any other systems we have seen.” Evans added: “Jaama is the software provider most recommended by fleet users because we continually work with clients to increase Key2 functionality, develop new modules and launch new solutions. “Jaama remains at the forefront of a fleet technology revolution.”

Web: jaama.co.uk Call: 0844 8484 333 Email: enquiries@jaama.co.uk


Insight Running a green fleet

RUNNING A GREEN FLEET Vehicle selection and technology play a key role in environmental policies

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By Trevor Gehlcken s the earth’s resources are finite, it stands to reason that each of us has a duty to make sure these valuable supplies are not wasted. But many UK van fleet operators do not operate a specific environmental policy. It could be short-sighted thinking, as such a policy will invariably involve either driving fewer miles or driving more fuel-efficiently and will therefore save cash for the company. That’s an important point to bear in mind for any fleet operator who wants to persuade his or her board that they should be thinking green. But where should a van fleet operator begin when thinking of drawing up such a plan? It should start before any vehicles are procured because if you choose the wrong ones, you’ll suffer the consequences for years to come. And before you scoff at the idea that you may be buying the wrong vans, experts reckon that around 40% of operators are doing just that.

When a van is due for replacement, it is worth considering alternatives and the possibility of choosing a smaller, more efficient vehicle. By downsizing, you’ll immediately save cash at the front end as, generally, the smaller the van, the cheaper it will be. It will also need fewer resources to make, will use less fuel in its lifetime and will leave less to dispose of at the end of its life, so is clearly a greener choice. Nowadays, a lot of help is at hand in choosing at the right vehicles, as most van manufacturers have special van centres with experts on hand. Citroën, for example, has 85 business centres across the UK and is pulling out all the stops to make sure that staff don’t simply sell vans to customers but give advice on which vehicles to choose for optimum efficiency. Scott Michael, Citroën’s commercial vehicle operations manager, says: “We want people who buy Citroën vans to see the deal as a relationship which will last from when the van is bought to when it is eventually sold – and that includes

buying the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly van for the job in the first place.” Citroën also offers free Trafficmaster sat-nav units with most of its vans, which will also bear fruit in environmental areas (more of which later). In addition to size, it is also worth comparing fuel economy figures for different vans. The Fiat Doblo Cargo, for example, comes with a stop-start system as standard, which is estimated to save up to 16% in fuel on urban runs. If your fleet doesn’t stray far from home, also consider purchasing or leasing electric vehicles (see panel, page 47). And don’t dismiss liquefied petroleum gas just because we don’t hear about it very much nowadays. The Citroën Berlingo is the only van offered in LPG format new off the forecourt but there are plenty of converters and suppliers. Linda Gomersall, general manager at Autogas, says: “There’s never been a better time for fleet operators to consider switching to LPG. The

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 45


Insight Running a green fleet TomTom is one of the many companies that fuel is widely available across the offer such technology and it is guaranteed to save country and by converting their vehiboth money and CO2 emissions. cles to run on the fuel, businesses can make some dramatic savings Giles Margerison, director UK & Ireland, on their operating costs.” TomTom Business Solutions, says: “Sustainability There are currently 160,000 vehicles in the UK has found its way on to boardroom agendas as a converted to run on Autogas LPG, which is availresult of industry quotas and legislative demands able at more than 1,400 forecourts. but also because firms simply want to be more The downside is that LPG only works on petrol environmentally-friendly. engines, which effectively means that only smaller “In an age of austerity cost is the major concern. vans can be converted. It is important to make As such, acceptance of the need for a green policy sure that such a conversion won’t affect the vehiwill usually depend upon the development of a cle’s warranty. strong business case for its introduction. Once you have bought your vehicles, there are “This isn’t easy to construct, so I am confident numerous companies who can we will see an increased sell you equipment to ensure demand for the kind of they are driven in the most advanced business technolocost-effective way – another gies which allow firms to cut major consideration in any costs at the same time as environmental policy. cutting carbon emissions. One option is speed limiters. “This is where telematics or In a recent test, Fleet Van took fleet management systems a Volkswagen Transporter, can play a central role.” added a Cobra speed limiter at Devices such as TomTom’s 56mph, drove on a 250-mile ecoPLUS read data directly route, took the limiter off and from vehicle engines, providing did the same run again. a real-time view of fuel effiMark Cartwright, The result was staggering – Fleet Transport Association ciency and other diagnostic a 37% difference in fuel data, such as CO2 emissions, economy, from 32.01mpg to 43.91mpg. engine rpm, gear selection and idling. The fact is that at 80mph a van uses upto 20% Fleet management products also allow more fuel than at 70mph so speed limiters businesses to monitor driver behaviour in order certainly make sense. to tackle fuel usage and reduce CO2 emissions. One of the problems fitting them is driver Information can be gathered to provide an resentment but experts say it soon wears off. accurate profile of each employee’s driving style, Mark Cartwright, project manager at the Freight taking into account factors such as speeding, Transport Association, says: “Give a driver a van rapid acceleration or harsh steering and braking. with a speed limiter and after a couple of months This can even be fed back to drivers in I guarantee he’ll say he prefers it. He’ll realise that real-time through their sat-nav devices, which journey times are the same – you don’t get there provide audible alerts to advise them when their any quicker by driving too fast – and there are driver style could benefit from improvement. major fuel savings.” Margerison says: “In the past, drivers may Increasingly, the green experts advise that have been reluctant to accept telematics speed limiters should be used in conjunction with technology but companies can overcome initial one of the latest telematics systems which keep resistance by involving them in the process from an eye on driver behaviour as well sheer speed. day one.”

“You don’t get there any quicker by driving faster”

Electric vehicle revolution As the cost of fuel continues to increase and the Government pushes to hit CO2 emission targets, businesses are going to come under increasing pressure to adopt green fleet practices, according to Steve Blackburn, European vice-president, Navman Wireless. Blackburn says: “The DfT seems defiant that the electric vehicle revolution will be the answer and continue to invest in charge point infrastructure, as well as promote its much publicised Plug-in scheme. However, despite positive results from the consumer sector, the commercial vehicle market hasn’t followed suit. A lack of vehicle choice, initial upfront costs and range anxiety are still huge concerns.”

Steve Blackman

46 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan


Lack of choice, upfront costs and range continue to be concerns for commercial fleets when it comes to electric vehicles

So what should van fleet operators do to green up their fleets? Blackburn advises: “Removing inefficiencies and improving driver behaviour are areas all businesses can investigate. With technology, such as vehicle tracking and telematics, making positive changes to improve efficiency and driver behaviour is within reach for all businesses. “Telematics links carbon emissions with fuel usage and most importantly cost. Having the ability to continually report on CO2 reductions and demonstrate the positive effect this has on the business’s bottom line is invaluable: making green fleet practices a boardroom priority, giving initiatives the direction and drive to be a success. “At its simplest, vehicle tracking provides locational information enabling businesses to minimise waste and maximise productivity. “Having the tools to intelligently allocate work, route vehicles efficiently and react to changes in the field will help businesses reduce fuel usage and CO2 emissions. “By doing this businesses will secure long-term gains and strengthen their position irrespective of external factors, such as the cost of fuel.”

“Make green fleet practices a boardroom priority” Steve Blackman, Navman Wireless

Top tips for greener vans n Avoid using air-conditioning where possible. It can add 7% to your fuel bills. n Make sure your vans aren’t loaded down with equipment that is never used. It will add to your fuel bills. n Make sure drivers have at least a basic sat-nav unit so they don’t waste fuel looking for customers’ addresses. n If delivering parcels, set up a system where the recipient is called before delivery. It is estimated 30% of deliveries fail because no-one is in. n Don’t scrimp on servicing. A poorlymaintained van will use more fuel and will pump out more CO2 than a serviced one. n Check tyres regularly, as underinflated tyres use more fuel.

Electric power versus hybrids: the crucial questions At first sight it would appear that buying into electric power would be the obvious way to “green” up a van fleet. There are no tailpipe emissions, fuel is much cheaper than diesel and the engines are noiseless and smooth. Renault has taken the lead in electric power with the Kangoo ZE, in which the vehicle is bought but the batteries leased, thus avoiding the possibility that fleets may be stung with a huge bill if the batteries fail. Mercedes-Benz offers the Vito e-Cell on lease only, Iveco has an electric Daily, Allied Electric Vehicles converts Peugeot vans to run on electric, Smith Electric Vehicles converts Transits and other manufacturers such as Citroën and Nissan have electric vans in the wings. But there are notable drawbacks with electric vans. They have much higher front-end prices than their diesel counterparts and their maximum range of around 100 miles can drop

alarmingly if heavy cargo is added and powersapping equipment is used. There is also a big question mark over exactly how green our electricity is. Around 60% is produced in the UK by coalfired power stations which sceptics say is simply moving the emissions from one place to another. Companies offering hybrid solutions are increasingly being seen as an alternative. Ashwoods Automotive is one of the leading players in the UK, offering a range of bolt-on technology which aims to improve fuel efficiency. It has now launched another device called Lightfoot which alerts drivers to any instances of poor driving every time they get behind the wheel – an important fact as they tend to slip back into bad habits after training. In trials, Lightfoot recorded savings of more than £70,000 over a four-year period for a test fleet of 50 vans. One company, which installed 100 vans with Lightfoot, also recorded a 50% drop in own-fault road traffic accidents.

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 47


First drive Mercedes-Benz Citan

Citan heads Mercedes drive for small van sales German manufacturer in Renault partnership as it breaks into new sector Need to know n Five-year-old Kangoo used as base vehicle n Citan carries £4,000 premium on Kangoo n Citan comes with ESC as standard

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By Trevor Gehlcken arketing activity is reaching frantic levels at Mercedes-Benz in Milton Keynes as it launches the Citan, its first small van. It’s a time of huge importance for the manufacturer. Not only is it a new and unknown sector for it, but Mercedes-Benz has also chosen the Renault Kangoo as a base vehicle. As the Citan will be more expensive than its Gallic cousin, bosses at the German firm have their work cut out trying to persuade the UK’s fleet buyers that it really is worth the extra cash. Take the base figures. The Kangoo starts at £13,000, almost £1,000 less than the Citan. However, that gap narrows when looking at the running costs (SMR and depreciation only). Over three years/90,000 miles, the Kangoo costs 13.90p per mile, a total of £12,510. The Citan, meanwhile, costs 14.50ppm, or £13,050 – a premium of £540. More than a few eyebrows were raised at MercedesBenz’s choice of partner ­– after all, the Kangoo was launched in 2008 so is not a new model. But the Citan has been heavily reworked both outside, inside and under the bonnet (putting it on a par with the year’s forthcoming Kangoo facelift) and all models will come with lots of equipment as standard. Higher up in the range, the headline price between Citan and Kangoo widens to almost £2,000. Can fleets be persuaded that the Mercedes is worth the extra money? Mercedes-Benz UK van sales and marketing director Steve Bridge believes they can.

The Traveliner model comes with extra seats in the back

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Specification Gross vehicle weight (kg): 1,785-2,200 Power (bhp/rpm): 75/4,000-114/4,500 Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 132/1,750-3,000-177/1,750-2,750 Load volume (cu m): 2.4-3.8 Payload (kg): 490-810 Comb fuel economy (mpg): 56.49-65.69 CO2 emissions (g/km): 112-130 Prices (ex-VAT): £13,095-£19,062

Verdict

Despite the fact that this is based on an five-year-old vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz engineers have done a wonderful job upgrading it. It will introduce Mercedes-Benz to new customers and help its aim of increasing share in the van market.

He told Fleet Van: “We have to educate fleet operators about basing their buying decisions on the total cost of ownership against the front-end price. People have to be taught not to look at the list price but how much per day a van will cost to run.” Bridge gave an example of a Citan costing £14,000 ex-VAT against a Ford Transit Connect at £10,600 and a Volkswagen Caddy at £12,900. Although the front-end prices are different, Bridge reckons that on a normal fleet lifecycle and taking into account fuel economy, reliability and residual value, the Connect will cost £6 per day to run, the Caddy £7.50 and the Citan £7.60 – a much closer figure. He said: “If you run a Citan for three years and 90,000 miles, you will save £3,300 in fuel alone against running a similar Ford Transit Connect.” However, it’s worth remembering that the Transit Connect is due for replacement later this year. Bridge also pointed to the higher specification of the Citan, which comes with Adaptive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard, whereas all its competitors apart from the Connect and the Caddy offer this safety device as a paid-for option. There is also a wipe-clean load floor in the back, cruise control, full steel bulkhead, electric windows and heated mirrors. Mercedes-Benz has its own breakdown and recovery service called MobiloVan, which reckons to fix 90% of problems at the roadside. Other manufacturers rely on companies such as the AA and RAC. Gone is the front end of the Kangoo, to be replaced by a Mercedes-Benz family look, and the dashboard and seats are also new. There have also been major changes to the suspension set-up to improve the ride and handling. Diesel engines are all 1.5-litre units offering 75bhp, 90bhp and 110bhp, while the petrol engine is a 1.2-litre unit with 114bhp. The two lower-powered diesels are available at launch, while the higher-powered diesel and petrol engines will be available later this year. After the Mercedes-Benz adjustments, the firm claims class-leading fuel economy figures of up to 65.7mpg on the combined cycle. In the back, the three wheelbase models will offer from 2.4 cubic metres to 3.8cu m and payloads of 490-810kg. The Citan will also have 25,000 mile servicing intervals and a three-year unlimited mileage warranty. Thanks to the fact that Mercedes-Benz also sells big trucks, Citan buyers will be able to take advantage of 24/7 servicing – something that only Iveco can match. Fleets will be able to choose from compact, long and extra long wheelbases (Renault stopped selling the Compact Kangoo last year) as well as Dualiner and Traveliner versions with extra seats in the back. However, Mercedes-Benz has ruled out an electric version for the foreseeable future. Prices for the long and extra long wheelbase models range from £13,095 to £19,062 ex-VAT.


Mercedes claims a Citan will save £3,300 on fuel over three years compared to a Ford Transit Connect

Citan will offer 2.4 to 3.8 cubic metres

The dashboard has a distinctly Mercedes look

The overhead shelf provides 12.6 litres of storage

Behind the wheel One thing is for certain – when you first clap eyes on a Citan you won’t be mistaken into thinking it’s a Kangoo. The vans have a prominent Germanic front end with a huge three-pointed star which is going to be repeated in forthcoming Mercedes-Benz vans and cars. This chunkiness continues in the cab where the Kangoo’s old dash has been replaced with something that looks as though it may have been hewn from a single solid piece of plastic. The driver and passenger seats are a delight with plenty of side support –

quite unlike the normal hard, slab-like ones you find in most German vans. There isn’t a huge amount of storage space in the cab but at least the Citan offers two coffee cup holders, an overhead shelf and a centre console which will hold an iPad. The centre console turned out, rather meanly, to be an option at £92. So did air conditioning, which comes at an eyepopping £872, ensuring in effect that very few fleets will order it. The handbrake of the Citan is a rather curious affair with the cigar lighter placed behind it, which meant that the

wires from our plug-in sat-nav unit got tangled up with the lever. Damned annoying actually. The engine in our 90bhp long wheelbase test model fired up smoothly and quietly and as there was a full steel bulkhead fitted as standard, the Citan was whisper quiet under way. Mercedes-Benz says that, after engine modifications, it is possible to get from Land’s End to John O’Groats without filling up. As our test route was in the undemanding back roads of Northamptonshire we didn’t get the chance to test out this claim but one

thing is for certain, the Citan cries out for a sixth gear. At 70mph our van was revving way more than 3,000rpm and once I almost knocked it into reverse by mistake trying in vain to find a higher cog. On the plus side, though, the Citan has pin-sharp ride and handling capabilities and it’s hats off to Mercedes-Benz for making ESC a standard fitment. We’ve been banging on about this wonderful device that stops sideways skidding for years, but most of the other manufacturers still charge extra for it in this sector.

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D r i v e n F o r d Tr a n s i t C u s t o m 2 9 0 S W B L i m i t e d E c o n e t i c

Behind the wheel It may a little unfair reporting on how delightful this van is to drive as our test model came with so many extras that no fleet driver is ever likely to get one like it. However, one thing is for certain – the Transit Custom is miles ahead of its predecessor and rockets Ford towards the head of the medium van sector. It even compares well with the Volkswagen Transporter, the acknowledged leader of the field. General fit and finish is light years ahead of its predecessor and it doesn’t even look like a van, its shapely curves more like that of a large MPV. Quite how Ford has managed to squeeze a 6cu m loadspace in the back of such a svelte van is a mystery. Climb aboard and, apart from the steel bulkhead behind you, the car-like similarities continue. Is this the centre console from the Fiesta car that we spy? Yes it is, and stylish it is too. There are two coat hooks fixed on the bulkhead (a handy addition most vans don’t have) and coffee cup holders and cola bottle bins in just the right places. Firing up the engine reveals another surprise – unlike in the old Transit you hardly hear a thing and underway you could well be driving one of Ford’s large MPVs. It really is that good. Handing is pin sharp, while gears snick into place in a most satisfactory manner and the power steering is weighted just right. Thank goodness too that Ford has junked the old Transit’s driver’s seat – one I never found very comfortable. The new one hugs the figure from top to toe and proved a delight even after a 100-mile trip.

Specification Gross vehicle weight (kg): 2,900 Power (bhp/rpm): 155/3,500 Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 284/1,600 Load volume (cu m): 6.0 Payload (kg): 1,083 Comb fuel economy (mpg): 44.1 CO2 emissions (g/km): 178 Price (ex-VAT): £22,745

Custom heralds new era for Transit Smaller of the two Transit models drives like an MPV Need to know n Improved fuel economy n Better comfort and refinement n ESC as standard

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By Trevor Gehlcken ctivity at Ford HQ in Great Warley has reached fever pitch, with the manufacturer replacing its entire van range in the space of a year. It’s a pretty tall order which saw a new Ranger launched last year, winning the LCV of the Year title at the 2012 Fleet Van awards, followed by a new Fiesta Van which we tested in last month’s Fleet Van – and now about to go on sale is the first Transit Custom, to be followed by a fresh Transit later this year. Ford has split the Transit range in two. The Custom is the smaller model and goes from 2.7-3.3 tonnes gross vehicle weight, while its bigger brother will take over the reins at higher weights. This is an entirely new version of the Transit. The Custom has stylish curves in place of the boxy old shape and it drives like a big MPV rather than like a van. However, practicality remains high. A load-through hatch in its bulkhead enables loads up to three metres in length, such as pipes or ladders, to be safely carried inside, while locking check arms allow the rear cargo doors to be easily locked in place at 90° open Our Limited Econetic spec test model featured the highest-powered 155bhp 2.2-litre powerplant.

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Standard stop-start and a 70mph speed limiter fitted helps produce official combined fuel economy of 44.1mpg. At £22,745 ex-VAT, standard goodies abound, including air-conditioning, alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors and a load floor in the rear. Unlike for most fleet drivers, we were also treated to leather seats and a builtin sat-nav unit. All Transits come with electronic stability control as standard.

“Stylish curves replace the old boxy shape”

Verdict

Ford’s models were beginning to look a little tired against a new array of German competitors, but the Transit Custom puts the blue oval once more on a level war footing. Can the bigger Transit due to be launched later this year be as good? We’ll soon see.


First drive Nissan N V4 0 0 2.3 manual L 2H2 SE

NV400 comes in all shapes and sizes

Behind the wheel

Fleets have choice of wheelbase, drive, length and height Nissan NV400 offers gross vehicle weights from 2.8 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes

Need to know n High equipment level on SE n Effortless cruising n Lack of dashboard storage

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By John Maslen he NV400 is a key part of Nissan’s bold plan to double its share of Europe’s LCV market by 2014. It is designed to compete for the most complex demands of fleet operators, offering gross vehicle weights from 2.8 tonnes to 4.5 tonnes along with front and rear-wheel drive, three wheelbases, three heights, four lengths and cargo volumes from eight to 17 cubic metres. Three power options (100bhp, 125bhp and 150bhp) from its 2.3-litre diesel engine are mated to either a six-speed manual or semi-automatic transmission. Nissan has also expanded its potential market with a variety of different bodywork options, all backed by the Nissan warranty. As well as factory-built panel vans and combis, there are crew vans, box bodies, tippers and dropsides all built in-house. A chassis-cab is also available for specialist body builders. The L2H2 SE on test here sits in the middle of the range, both in specification and size, offering 10.8 cubic metres of cargo space and a payload of 1,620kg. The 125bhp engine offers 228lb-ft of torque from 1,2502,500rpm and achieves a combined 34.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 218g/km The NV400 offers two trim levels, E and SE. The E

The folding middle seat includes a swivel writing table grade lacks many driver comforts and is offered only in two van variants, but importantly comes with antilock brakes and EBD to improve safety on the road. The higher spec SE comes with an Aladdin’s cave of extras, including remote central locking, power windows and mirrors, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, driver’s armrest and improved storage. There is also a larger 100-litre fuel tank to extend the van’s range between stops. Prices start at £19,265 for the L1H1 and rise to £26,265 for the largest L3H3 variant.

“It is designed for the most complex of demands”

Verdict

This is a strong contender for the attention of fleets as a capable and flexible LCV, with a competitive range of power outputs, body variants and options. However, some interior tweaks of spec and storage may be needed to keep drivers happy on long runs.

Nissan has gone big and bold with the look of the NV400 and climbing into the cab continues the theme with a solid looking dash that looks up to the daily grind. The only potential fragile element is the remote control for the optional TomTom navigation system, which looks both breakable and easily lost when subjected to a driver’s paws. However, the screen is well placed where a rear view mirror would normally sit. The commanding driving position is helped by large mirrors. The standard heater unit clears the screen well, but drivers may want air conditioning for the summer months, which is part of a pretty pricey £750 option pack that includes fog lights and pollen filter. The 2.3-litre diesel, in 125bhp guise, and the six-speed manual gearbox make a good combination and there is plenty of low-down power so reaching cruising speed is bordering on effortless. However, as our model didn’t have a bulkhead, noise levels were high, amplified around the van’s interior as motorway speeds approached. For longer journeys, even on the higher spec SE version, there doesn’t seem to be a home for anything larger than a soft drink can on the dash. The only option for something like a cup of coffee is to use one in the back of the clever folding middle seat, which also includes a swivel writing table. However, the holder sits slightly behind the driver and makes it difficult to reach. In the rear, the space is clutter free with plenty of mounting and lashing points available, along with a 12V socket on SE versions. The wide-opening doors make loading bulky items straightforward and the sliding side door also allows plenty of space for access.

Specification Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,500 Power (bhp/rpm): 125/3,500 Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 228/2,750 Load volume (cu m): 10.8 Payload (kg): 1,620 Comb fuel economy (mpg): 34.5 CO2 emissions (g/km): 218 Price (ex-VAT): £23,965

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F i r s t d r i v e Min i C lub v a n 1. 6 C o o p e r D

Many businesses will see the attraction of the likeable Mini Clubvan

Behind the wheel Style will rarely be a priority for most van operators, but assuming the Mini Clubvan meets the requirements of the organisation running it and is fit for purpose, how it looks will be a strong selling point. Our test vehicle was fitted with optional 17-inch alloys (part of the wide range of options available, as well as heated leather seats), which made me worry for any fragile cargo that might be transported over poor urban road surfaces. The standard 15-inch alloy wheels would offer less fraught behaviour and leave the Clubvan looking almost as desirable. There are other ways in which a fleet could make the van stand out and become a marketing tool for their company through options and accessories. Otherwise the Clubvan is a delight to drive. It is as nippy and manoeuvrable as any car in the Mini range, with a go-kart feel to the steering as well as a superslick gearshift action. The 1.6-litre diesel engine is potent as well as refined, and the quality of materials in the cab surpasses any other small van. Our test route involved a trip through the Channel Tunnel with a task to pick up some cargo in France and deliver it to an address in the Champagne region. The Clubvan took both motorway and country road in its stride and arrived at the destination on the same tank of diesel. The Clubvan comes with the same fuel-saving stop-start technology and energy recuperation features as the cars in the Mini range, and offers competitive real-world fuel consumption.

Specification Gross vehicle weight (kg): 1,685 Power (bhp/rpm): 112/4,000 Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 161/1,750 Load volume (cu m): 0.86 Payload (kg): 500 Comb fuel economy (mpg): 72.4 CO2 emissions (g/km): 103 Price (ex-VAT): £13,675

Clubvan has Mini appeal for fleets BMW turns back the clock with an LCV Mini Need to know n 500kg payload with 0.86 cu m load volume n CO2 from 103g/km and fuel economy up to 72.4mpg n Wide range of Mini styling customisation available

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By Simon Harris ini has dipped its toes into the LCV market by reviving a concept first seen more than 50 years ago. The Mini Clubvan might seem a logical step given the original Morris Mini van of 1960. It’s probably true that Mini doesn’t aspire to big fleet deals with the Mini Clubvan, instead appealing more to small businesses. But in the niche world of car-derived vans, Mini has created a vehicle that would seem to do the job well, at least on paper. Prices start at £11,175 (excluding VAT), there is a payload of 500kg (there or thereabouts with a Ford Fiesta van and 50kg lower than a Vauxhall Corsavan), and a load volume of 0.86cu m – close to the Corsavan’s 0.9cu m, although further behind the Fiesta van’s 1.0cu m. So it isn’t class-leading, but it is still competitive while the estate body style inherited from the Mini Clubman could help improve practicality over its hatchback rivals. The Clubvan load width is never less than 1,020mm, which is better than the Corsavan and Fiesta van measurement between the wheel arches. Mini is expecting the Clubvan to appeal to “lifestylefocused” businesses for whom, perhaps, the distinctive van could be an extra marketing tool. It is offered with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel: the 98bhp One; the 122bhp Cooper and the 112bhp Cooper D, the latter achieving 72.4mpg on the

52 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan

Clubvan is a delight to drive combined cycle. It might not be the most economical car-derived van (Vauxhall offers an 83.1mpg version of the Corsavan while Ford has an Econetic version of the Fiesta Van which achieves 76.3mpg), but the Clubvan’s performance and driver appeal are almost ample compensation. Let’s face it, this type of van is more likely to be aligned to an urban cycle fuel consumption figure, which in the case of the Mini is 64.2mpg. Strong residuals also reflect that of Mini’s car range. All versions come with six-speed manual gearboxes as standard, although both Cooper and Cooper D variants can be chosen with an optional six-speed automatic. A number of businesses will certainly see the attraction of this surprisingly likeable small van.

“Strong residuals also reflect that of Mini’s car range”

Verdict

It might not be suitable for every fleet operator, but it’s competitive on running costs and we can’t imagine any small van driver being disappointed at being entrusted with a Clubvan as their daily work vehicle.


L o n g - t e r m t e s t R e n a u l t Tr a f i c S p o r t 115

Trafic stands the test of time Renault van is still a great performer despite the model being around since 2001 Need to know ■ Weather scuppers fuel economy test ■ Excellent long-distance comfort ■ Standard sat-nav

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By Trevor Gehlcken ne day it shines and the next we have two inches of snow – it’s playing havoc with our plans to carry out an exact fuel economy test on our long-term Renault Trafic Sport. The van sits outside overnight and on frosty mornings I sit in it with the engine running for five minutes or so until the ice and snow melts. It is hardly fair to count those five idle minutes in our fuel economy figure so we’ve had to take advantage of the odd nice day to try and make up for it.

So far, our figure has been 39.2mpg and that’s not a bad return. But I reckon I could nudge it up a bit if it wasn’t for the fact that most of the driving so far has either been round town or blasting up and down the M11 between my home in Southend and the Fleet Van offices in Peterborough – and neither of these activities are going to show a vehicle in its most fuelefficient light. The other week, a new Ford Transit Custom 290 SWB Limited Econetic arrived for testing with us (see page 50 for test). This is a new medium-sized van that is set to replace the old smaller Transit models this year and has been feted in the press as just about the best thing since the invention of the lightbulb.

“I can’t see how it could be improved in any major way”

Specification Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,005 Power (bhp/rpm): 115/3,500 Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 221/1,500 Load volume (cu m): 5.0 Payload (kg): 1,080 Comb fuel economy (mpg): 40.9 Test fuel economy (mpg): 39.2 CO2 emissions (g/km): 180 Price as tested (ex-VAT): £20,930 Cab comfort means no back ache after a 200-mile journey

As our Trafic is basically a vehicle that was launched in 2001 with a few nips and tucks along the way, you’d expect at it would look pretty old and cronky against this newcomer. You’d be dead wrong. It’s a mark of just how far ahead of its time the Trafic was when launched that it still feels new and quite up to doing battle with this newcomer. Our test van is considerably cheaper than the Transit Custom too. Renault is due to launch a new Trafic the end of this year but to be honest this version is such a great performer that I just can’t see how it could be improved in any major way. I often undertake 200-mile journeys and each time I arrive at the other end still fresh and with no back twinges. And the Trafic has as standard a natty TomTom sat-nav unit too, which features a bigger screen than the usual aftermarket systems. If you want a fitted sat-nav in the Transit Custom we had on test, it would set you back an additional £828. The only problem with having a test van for a year is that it tends to get filled up with all kinds of detritus – and I have to admit being guilty of this in a big way. I currently have a growing load of waste in the back waiting to go to the tip. My reason for the delay is being too lazy to face the form-filling required to take a van to our local dump.

Ever-changing weather conditions have hampered fuel economy tests

fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan April 2013 53


Van running costs

Long wheelbase small vans

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By Trevor Gehlcken s fleet operators increasingly demand more and more complex off-the-shelf vehicles to suit their individual needs, the traditional van sectors have become more and more diluted and blurred over the years. Take Citroën’s LCV range for example. A few years ago there were three basic sectors – small (Berlingo), medium (Dispatch) and large (Relay). With the launch of the smaller Nemo city van, Citroën increased the size of the Berlingo and added a long wheelbase version which nudged it up close to the larger Dispatch, so that the biggest Berlingo and the smallest Dispatch are almost the same size. Such moves have ensured that there is a seamless van range on offer – but it does make for a lot of head scratching when it comes to deciding the most cost-effective vehicles to buy. In general terms the smaller the vehicle, the cheaper it will be to run, so a long wheelbase small van will be more costeffective than a short wheelbase medium van – but it pays to do some number crunching. This month’s running costs focus is on long wheelbase small vans over four years/80,000 miles. The contenders are the Citroën Berlingo LWB, Fiat Doblo Cargo LWB, Ford Transit Connect LWB, Peugeot Partner LWB, Renault Kangoo LWB, Vauxhall Combo LWB an Volkswagen Caddy LWB. The Mercedes-Benz Citan, a heavilyreworked Kangoo, will soon join the fray. The Berlingo and Partner are basically the same vehicles, as are the Doblo Cargo and Combo. But despite this, you’ll find that running costs can be slightly different, owing to variations in front-end price, differing standard

Kangoo Maxi is the most powerful of the long wheelbase small vans

specification and differences in servicing costs and predicted values of the van at selling time. A difference of 1p per mile may not sound much but over the course of 80,000 miles that adds up to £800 per vehicle. Leading the field in the running costs stakes is the Berlingo at 30.34p. The Citroën’s win is largely down to its low front-end price, high fuel economy and low service, maintenance and repair figure. Despite the fact that the Partner is basically the same vehicle and actually costs less, it tails by 0.81p per mile thanks to higher depreciation and SMR costs and comes third. The myth that Volkswagen vans are expensive to run is blown out of the water with the Caddy Maxi. Despite costing £1,128 more than the Berlingo, it comes in second place, thanks to its low depreciation and SMR costs. Trailing a long way behind is the Ford Transit Connect which, thanks to its high front-end price and low fuel economy, makes a total of 33.7ppm. Thus over our four-year period, the Connect would cost £2,688 more to run than the Berlingo. However, it is important to note that the Connect is due to be replaced by a brand new model later this year.

“Leading the field for running costs is the Citroën Berlingo”

LEFT: Caddy Maxi dispels the myth that Volkswagen vans are expensive to run

RIGHT: Berlingo L2 offers almost as much cargo volume as a Citroën Dispatch

FACTFILE Citroën Berlingo L2 1.6HDi 90 X Fiat Doblo Cargo Maxi LWB 1.6M’jet 105 Ford Transit Connect 230 LWB 1.8TDCi 90 Trend Peugeot Partner L2 750Kg 1.6HDi 92 Renault Kangoo Maxi LL21 1.5dCi 110 Vauxhall Combo L2 2300 1.6CDTi 105 Volkswagen Caddy Maxi C20 N1 1.6TDI 102

List price (£) 14,367 15,920 16,321 14,312 15,095 16,373 15,495

Power (bhp) 90 105 90 92 110 105 102

Torque (lb-ft) 158.6 214 162 158 177 214 184

Load vol (cu m) 3.7 4.2 3.7 3.7 4.0 4.2 2.25

GVW (kg) 2130 2370 2340 2130 2193 2370 2310

Payload (kg) 680 1000 902 750 800 1000 750

CO2 (g/km) 143 137 162 143 1050 1300 1500

Fuel economy (mpg) 51.4 54.3 46.3 51.4 51.4 54.3 48.7

Fuel cost (ppm) 12.53 11.86 13.91 12.53 12.53 11.86 13.22

Depr (ppm) 14.62 16.74 16.18 14.67 15.4 16.78 14.46

SMR (ppm) 3.2 3.79 3.61 3.95 3.43 3.79 2.79

Total (ppm) 30.34 32.39 33.7 31.15 31.35 32.43 30.48

Figures over four years/80,000 miles

For more running costs, visit www.fleetnews.co.uk/vans 54 April 2013 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan



Fleet Van April 2013